One meaning of sangha is "being together" in a way that allows rich exchange to bring out honesty and unpretentious wisdom. Deep respect for the unmistakeable voice of each individual encourages the diversity and dignity that helps friendship, meditation, and life to thrive. These informal interviews in various formats humbly offer glimpses of some of the unique expressions of wisdom among Open Dharma's friends.
If you would like to interview someone for this page (or suggest someone who could be interviewed), please contact us:
Tom, on fatherhood & Dharma
What was it like for you as a father to spend lots of time with Open Dharma during your daughter’s early years?
What comes to mind first is a sharing that feels like finally coming home after a long journey, and there were people who shared their home with me, so that I might become a home for life as well...and share it.
It is this simple sharing of life, sharing a meal, sharing time, working together, taking a walk, being at ease and resting in the ordinary ways of life. We lived simply but with dignity together in all these locations in India, we could share the bringing up of a child , as if there are many mothers and fathers taking care of Johanna-ji, our little daughter from the age of 1. To feel that we were carried in love, sharing the joys and sorrows that came along.
So the first experience was to meet family and to be taken care of—that was coming home with others. (Jaya, Manjeeta, Ajay, Gemma, and the whole Open Dharma Family)
I saw a father being a father, taking good care; I saw a friend being a friend, ….
Then coming home to myself, as I learned to relax; and being encouraged to use my skills and energy to take care of others, sharing what is coming from my heart. I know how it feels to be home now, and from there, there is an endless stream of care, ready to prepare a meal for god who might ring at my door the next moment, or a friend calling and sharing what’s happening in his life and sharing my own experience.
It is that simple: how open I can be, how far can I stretch to allow everything resting in my spaciousness and warm welcome hug?
I learned and I am still learning how to come home to myself, to be true to what’s happening for me: what hurts and can I show this pain; what tickles and can I dance this joy; can I continue to unmask my story, so that you would meet me? That is life unlimited...
I now started walking the path of responsibility for myself, taking good care, being a father taking care of my daughter, because it’s my wish and joy to do so; being a partner to my beloved Dana, who is my chosen challenge; being friend to so many; and being the son of my parents, the spearhead of my ancestors, the heir of 10,000 years hard work and love and care...
So meeting Jaya and Gemma and Ajay has helped me to be deeply connected with life and continues to inspire me to share and spread out the good news, there is one family and its you and me and...
Chris, on love and personality
Life in Canada is, as always, interesting. Interesting good, and interesting challenging.
There is something growing inside me that is bigger, more spacious, more abundant, spontaneous, and capable of love than what I've ever experienced. It doesn't feel like the me that I have known until now, nor does it feel mine in any fundamental sense. But when I access it, or orient myself to its flow, there is no doubt about where I need to be. An interesting thing about this space is that it doesn't seem to have anything to do with my personality other than illuminating it. Seeing my personality this clearly is scaring the **$#* out of me. Like really scaring the **$#* out of me.
What I'm seeing is a pit of fear and loneliness. While there is a part of me that screams and cries with joy, another part of me is utterly terrified of being alone, that is basically a tiny, afraid, screaming child that is doing anything to avoid facing my desperate fear and aloneness.
Under this fear is the abyss. I get tiny little touches of this fear and it almost takes my breath away. I have spent my life just keeping things “together” enough to avoid this place.
I am realizing, however, that I need to make my passage through this darkness, and the thought scares the shit out of me. There doesn't, however, appear to be any other way through.
Centeredness and space are perhaps the two dominant concepts that I've been relating to for the past while, and the relationship between the two is fascinating, being fundamentally the same thing. Holding my center is such a satisfying practice that seems, from my perspective, to kind of be the whole path, or at least what I can contribute with my own consciousness. There is, however, no avoidance of my own shit when I'm moving from this place, and what I see is really dark, small and scared.
So, there is an apparent paradox. On the one side I am becoming a conduit for love. On the other hand, I feel completely messed up. The first allows the second, indeed demands that I see the second, and next and most importantly, that I deal with it. I can't see a way around this, however hard I try. I have to go through this door to reach the next. I have offered myself to the universe, and this is what is demanded in return - myself.
While I feel more real, connected and grounded than I ever have, I am completely baffled by everything. What the hell is going on? What is this love, what is this life, what is anything? What is this dance? I have no idea, but it feels like a torrent, like freedom, like honey, like sinuous movement that follows no rules—big, powerful, beautiful. It is huge, gentle, loving, spontaneous - and existing utterly on its own terms.
I couldn't do this without you. Thank you so, so much for your love and support.
Some favorite Open Dharma moments
In 2007 Jaya interviewed some friends about Open Dharma's first ten years.
Dana Dharma Mama interview