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Beloved Community

by Nancy Bragg

This meditation practice in beloved community,

differs starkly from my beginning meditation efforts by myself.

I would dutifully set a timer, and sit quietly,

my mind filling with mundane “to do” list items.

After I sat for what seemed like eons,

I picked up the timer, just to check, it had to be about time.

Whatever time was left, I told myself, “Close enough, I’m done.”

I checked “meditation” off my “to do” list.

When I practice in this beloved community,

a benevolent and nurturing soul times us.

I slow down and am more patient with my humanness.

I let myself relax and go much deeper than I ever did by myself.

I stay put, I don’t budge until we arrive on the other side of 15 minutes.

I am open and receptive.

I feel a sense of belonging in this beloved community,

I prioritize this time and work my schedule around it.

It’s become a comfortable habit that centers and grounds me.

I want to be here.

I am in community.

I feel blanketed and hugged by my supportive newly-found kin.

Former strangers show up and hold space for me.

Within this beloved community, I experience stillness and silence,

I feel safe closing my eyes and surrendering.

I meditate, listen, and speak in the spirit of love.

I am loved.

I sense our synergistic energy field as

it magnifies my state of calm and self-exploration.

My awareness, contentment, and inner peace

expand and deepen beyond what is possible alone.

I am interconnected.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned “beloved community,”

as a community of love for all

in a just world with equality for all.

He aspired to create “beloved community,”

and had faith in it, as a real possibility.

We are a beloved community.

Our beloved community of daily meditators

expands to our kin beloveds, the blog readers.

Together, we journey towards healing and spiritual wholeness.

We embody beloved community and make it real.

For me, within this beloved community:

I courageously unveil and face my fears.

I cultivate healing power and strength.

I feel powerful.

Through our readings and meditation,

I come to a place of inner knowing,

and have a choice to voice it, or not.

I come to a place of inner peace,

peace that emanates out into this group and beyond.

I am a peace maker.

The world needs open, receptive, and powerful people,

who are in community, loved, and interconnected.

As fellow peace makers coming from a place of inner peace,

we can “be love.”

We can create beloved community in the world.

In gatherings we are stirred

like the leaves of the fall season

rustling around sacred trees,

tossed hither and yon

until we come to rest together,

quietly, softly . . .

We come to gather strength from each other.

We come to give strength to each other.

We come to ask for strength from the Spirit of All That Is and Is Not.

When our hearts sing or when they frown

it is the way of compassion telling us to give.

It is the way of peace telling us

to share our gifts,

for we are happiest

and most powerful

when Love is made apparent

in and through us.

Spirit of the circle that is Love,

as we twirl in this dance that is life

we give thanks for reminding us each day

of our task of ministering to each “other”

with a searching glance,

a safe touch,

a generous smile,

a thoughtful word . . .

Thank you for reminding us

that we are always building our beloved communidad.

Thank you for reminding us

that through our covenant with you

we covenant with each “other”

and are made whole.

In gratitude, we celebrate

with open hearts and minds.

We discover who we are,

separate from each other

and within one another.

In this circle that holds all life

may we ever work toward

widening its boundaries

until there are none.

Amen. Paz. Blessed Be.

Participants’ Reflections

  • I have never in my 75 years really had deep friends, people who I would do anything for and who I felt would do anything for me until now. I’m grateful for Covid being the impetus to bring us together. I think since the day we started, I’ve missed about 7 days total and those days have been anguish for me. I think the group is transcending. Shirley is the critical impetus for everything, but it’s astounding the way every day people pick up and build on that. It’s truly a wonderful phenomenon. I’m particularly grateful for those in the group and who have triumphed over real anguish in their lives, as various members have shared with us. They have such wisdom gained from their experiences.

  • I feel the same way. I’m so grateful today to be able to talk. I had a medical consult over the phone yesterday and it was awful. I feel crushed by the process and I am so grateful to be here today. You are all so loving.

  • Thank you. I wrote down a lot as you were talking because I have been trying to think about my experience so far in this group and what it’s giving me. I love being more patient with my humanity. I think it’s very subtle but a powerful process. I think the community provides a lot of that with the honesty and openness and the risks people take to share. It’s extremely potent. It’s become a habit grounding myself. I remember I was told about the group quite a while back. The idea of getting up early when I didn’t have to stopped me from attending. Making a commitment to do that seemed like no way. Then slowly as things changed in me in what I was looking for, I checked it out. I haven’t missed one time in the last two weeks. It’s effortless. There is no ambivalence. There’s a real feeling I want to do this and be a part of it. I liked that you thought through that, the way you did in your sharing.

  • Thank you. I’m so grateful for this community too because it grounds me and supports me. I can also reach out to others. It’s such a blessing. My husband and I are being audited. This week I was freaked out. Then the Covid numbers on top of it. I have days where I feel like it’s just too much. Then I come to this group and I hear the truth. I hear and see authenticity. I just come back down to feeling okay again, like everything is okay.

  • I wanted to thank everyone for the community. The image I have of this community is a diving board. It gets me up in the morning. I look forward to getting up every morning. Then afterwards, I will extend the meditation, extend the energy. It’s my jumping off point for the day.

  • The writing was beautiful. This community is beloved to me. I love this reading that came after the day Shirley spoke on codependence (see Nov 13 blog). I got clean in 1984 and a couple years later, Melody Beattie’s book came out and the codependent language came into the 12-step circles. As an addict, I pushed everyone away. I had huge walls up. I have walls I need to bring down. What helped me make sense is there’s codependence when I’m addicted to another person and there’s interdependence when we share in power and support and uplift each other. There’s a key difference there. Especially with the pandemic, there is a lot less interaction where this interdependence can occur. This is a beautiful community for me.

  • That was such a beautiful reading. I love this idea of a beloved community. I appreciate this whole group, everybody that comes every day. It makes a difference in my life. It does help ground me every morning whether I meditate or not. Sometimes I just sit and be still. It has always been hard for me to be part of a community. I always feel like an outsider, but I really love that we have these shared values and are in an honest search for finding peace and serenity in our lives no matter what is happening around us.

  • Thank you for saying so much for what most of us feel. This has been a wonderful experience to help us get through these hard times. I really appreciate the effort put into the daily process. It’s very special to hear other people share experiences that are the same as mine and also hear such different experiences. I carry so much with me through the day and I find myself just talking to myself about how I feel and what’s going on much more than I ever have before.

  • It’s time to go out in the world. Thank you for being with us today. We go from a place of grounding and serenity and love. We’ll be here tomorrow.

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