27 Days of Change | Practicing with a Virtual Community

image: Karen Muktayani Villanueva
guest written by Leslee Goodman
27 Days of Change | Practice Period
Winter 2009 & Spring 2010 Participant

2009 was my year of virtual community. For half the year, my husband and I lived in rural Washington. We had no neighbors, but I did belong to a progressive list-serve that enabled me to feel connected and hopeful, even while news of tea parties and other right-wing hysteria swirled around me. I grew to deeply appreciate my list-serve members, even though I never met most of them. They let me know I wasn’t alone.

Back in Santa Barbara in November, I searched the internet for a group to join in protest of Obama’s escalation of the war in Afghanistan. Instead I stumbled upon CXC—just in time to sign up for the winter practice period. 27 days of transformative change…Who could resist? It was like finding “The Meaning of Existence” in the course catalog at the University of Hawaii. You could discover life’s meaning and fulfill a general education requirement? Of course I registered.

I was similarly charmed by the CXC’s proposal: a vehicle for pursuing social change and spiritual growth simultaneously. No need to clear my schedule and go on retreat; my activism would be my spiritual practice.

Having experienced the benefits of cyber community in Washington, I wasn’t dismayed by the idea of participating remotely. It was sweetly empowering to realize there were beings of like intention 300 miles away doing their work while I did mine. Still, I was surprised at how touched I was by my remote sangha’s support: to know that Muki blessed our intentions every day in the practice hall; to receive the daily emails; to feel part of an intentional community stretching to be a little kinder; a little clearer; a little more grounded; more fearless, and ultimately, more effective.

What did I learn? That could be a whole other article, but for starters I learned that:
1. Meditating more helped me want to meditate more. Stillness finally called me, instead of me always having to call him.

2. Working on your spiritual practice while engaging the world is harder than going on retreat to do it. It’s much easier to be mindful when you haven’t got an overloaded to-do list waiting for you to get up off the cushion.

3. A cleanse not only makes a lot of s**t come out; it makes a lot of it come up, as well.

4. When there’s so much to do that it seems irresponsible to “retreat” for 10 days, how great is it to have 27 Days as a container for intentional, sustained practice that benefits all beings?

I learned that it’s pretty great.

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CXC 27 Days of Change | Practice Period

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