White Heron Sangha

Fall 2020

New Virtual Community Meeting Room

by Charlene West

I am a visual learner. I find abstract ideas difficult to understand until I can “see” the concept. The wonders of technology sometimes feel like magic tricks to me. Such is the virtual reality of Zoom.

Our sangha has made excellent use of the Zoom app to hold our regular Sunday night gatherings, as well other events such as the Tuesday discussion group facilitated by James Coleman and the Wednesday night “Mindfulness for Everybody” meetings led by Mick Malotte.

But where virtual reality truly shines for me is during the Morning Sit each day at 8:00 AM. What began as a temporary antidote to our lockdown in March has blossomed into a wonderful family of meditators. We often even bring tea or coffee to the chat we share after we sit. Here's a screen shot from one of our recent morning gatherings:

Morning sit in the new "Community Meeting Room" -- no Zoom host required!

I tend to visualize the sangha’s original Zoom account as our Avila Village Meditation Hall -- without the thangkas, carpet or statuary, but as a space with the same opportunity to meet, meditate and learn. Because of the Morning Sit and other less formal gatherings, we eventually decided that it would be good to have another Zoom Room (say that out loud three times and smile!) for smaller meetings that would not require a fully trained Zoom host. So, we opened our Zoom2 account. We like to refer to it as our Community Meeting Room. We visual types can think of it as a conference room off the Main Meeting Room.

The Morning Sit uses this room each day at 8:00 AM. The remainder of the day, it is available to informal WHS dharma-related groups for meetings, classes, discussions, and book studies. For example, several of the Being Mindful of Race small groups are using it for their meetings. There is no requirement for an official host, and all meetings held there use the same link. If you are a White Heron Sangha member, you simply log in to the website, go to the MEMBER ONLY tab, and click on Community Meeting Room. It is always open!

To see if the room is available for your group, there is a calendar on the Community Meeting Room page. To book the room, simply contact me at carlottawest@hotmail.com, so that I can reserve it for you and add your meeting to the calendar.

This is another terrific resource for White Heron Sangha as we navigate this new digital reality.

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