This February 87 people came together for a wonderful FLK week at our international centre led by Marsha Eberhart and Jim Nicholson, who both generously shared a wonderful depth of understanding and lightness of heart. We missed Sean Dennison, who couldn’t be there this year for the first time in many years, but we know he was there in spirit. The program was transformative in large and small ways for all who attended.
We had the opportunity early on to consider our personal goals for the week. Many people wanted a chance to understand more about chanting and meditation, while others were looking for a chance to relax and become more peaceful in the way one can only do through a week of practice together with others. By the end of the week we had met our goals, plus some!
In the mornings we practiced the Goon Yam Lighting Ceremony in the big temple, which was new for many people. This chant is quite a workout and requires some coordination. Jim and Marsha shared wonderful “tips” each day that built our understanding. On the last day we conducted the full ceremony with confidence and clarity of mind! We also had a chance to practice the Taoist Chant-Ching Mei Lai Dau Foh-The Pure And Refined Ceremony Honouring the Dippers’ using a combination of the book and the karaoke DVD. Taking small sections at a time and repeating them was a great model for how to practice once we return to our home locations. The Taoist chanters from Toronto, led by Mr. Tam, joined us one morning to chant the whole thing in the large temple. Wonderful!
We practiced lots of Taoist Tai Chi throughout the week and had the opportunity to work on the foundations and the chores in small groups, which was as always a rich learning experience. We had three special sessions where we listened to each of the texts “The Great Learning’” ‘”The Heart Sutra of the Perfection of Wisdom” and “The Scripture of Clarity and Stillness” and then talked in our small groups about how these sacred texts connected to our experiences in FLKTTC. These were interesting and in some ways surprising conversations that touched the depths of how our training connects on many levels to these sacred Confucian, Buddhist and Taoist writings
We were invited to attend Tony Kwong’s regular Tuesday night class at the center, which is a real privilege, perhaps especially for those who come from far away. That night Tony asked Joanne, a participant from Winnipeg, to tell her moving story of transformation from terribly ill health to someone who has a way forward and is excited by continuous improvements in her pain levels, mobility, and sense of well being. Look for her story on the blog soon!
Throughout the week we also had plenty of opportunity to practice both the standing and sitting meditation. Together with everything else they helped us find our hearts more centered and our minds more quiet.
For the second year in a row most of the Canadian regional Presidents gathered at FLK week to eat meals together, meet, and consult with Marsha and the other FLK directors, when they could be there. This is so valuable for sharing ideas and making sure we are all in good alignment as we go forward. A much appreciated opportunity
Although everything we do is really ‘FLK’ and all programs are aspects of the same training it was clear that the week brought deeper balance, increased energy, and quieter minds to all.