Awakin Circles: History
- Overview: Awakin gatherings are a grassroots expression of spirituality, service and gratitude. It started in an simple living room, proposes no particular teaching and attracts a unique combination of people every week. Our general format is an hour of silent meditation, followed by another hour of sharing thoughts, and then a vegetarian dinner in silence.
- History: It was started by Nipun, Guri, and Harshida ("CF mom") in late 1996. There hasn't been any 5-year-plan or marketing; it's just been word of "mouse". People come to Awakin Circles in all kinds of interesting ways -- "while I was hiking in the Grand Canyon", "the guy next to me on the plane told me about it", "I overhead a conversation at the coffee shop", "a homeless guy told me about it", "my interviewer at Microsoft told me about it; I didn't get that job but I got directions to this house!"; and so on. We can't say we understand how its all emerging, but we don't even try anymore. It's simply a glimpse into the miracle of inter-connectedness that is present in our every waking moment.
- Guest Speakers: when inspiring people come through the doors, we often offer them the second hour to share their life journey. Wide range of folks from the a Nobel Laureate to royalty from Japan to last active disciple of Gandhi to Zen master Les Kaye have joined us. Numerous change-makers like Sister Lucy, famous authors like Deepak Chopra and Gary Zukav, incredible pilgrims like Satish Kumar and Rev. Heng Sure have also visited. Some remarkable musicians and everyday heroes also grace the space. Ultimately, the space is service to collective emergence, so each person is special in their own way.
- Audience: the size varies based on location, but in the bay-area where it started, it's at 65 guests each week (and there's often a waitlist). For guest speaker events, the space is crammed with 100+ folks. Paul van Slambrouck describes a typical feel: "The circle is diverse and what happens is unorchestrated. Some will decline to speak; some will share. A millionaire, a jobless graduate, a mother of four may be sitting next to each other. In an Awakin Circle, it makes no difference. This is a place awash in generosity. It is the spirit that makes it happen and it is the spirit in which people attend and share. It is palpable, like walking deep into a darkened cathedral, or staring at the stars from a mountain campground. This is a place where the sharing is felt, even without words. Those that pass the microphone without saying a word are every bit a part of what is happening collectively. Everyone is part of a space where words and silence mean something and where the demarcation of the individual seems to fall away. The silos give way to a circle. In the sharing there is a heightened sense of being."
However, that said, the appeal of Awakin Circle isn't is size. If we sincerely sit in silence and tune into the emergence, we invisibly connection the larger field of our consciousness -- and that's special, regardless of the material size.
- Background: Many attendees are also loosely affiliated as volunteers of a nonprofit organization called ServiceSpace. Started in April 1999, ServiceSpace is a volunteer run organization that leverages technology to promote the ancient idea of a gift-economy. With over 500 thousand members worldwide, it has become a movement around the ideal of giftivism, but because of its defining trait of being fully volunteer-run and having very little overhead, it keeps things simple and focuses on inner transformation over external impact.
About Awakin Circles
Awakin circles started in the mid 90s when couple friends got together to sit in silence in an ordinary living room. For over a decade, it was known simply as 'Wednesdays'. Today, it has touched numerous lives around the globe and are now being voluntarily hosted by everyday heroes in over hundred cities.
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