This week marks the first experimental journey for the Young Adult Group (YAG) in SBM to conduct its very first sharing session. For those of you who might not be aware, we only had our very first YAG meeting last Wednesday and it was one of those meetings that I personally thought very constructive yet collaborative. In the span of 2 days, marketing posters were out and voila we had our very first YAG sharing session with Bro. Kerwin Kwek Zeming leading the way with “Developing the Seeds of Joy”.
It may all be very last minute so it is fair that we do not have the mass number to start with and I thought it was a very beautiful thing when Zeming himself started reassuring the skeptics in us that “Don’t worry whether it is a small group or a big group – it has its own pros and cons”. So, we started the sharing with just the 8 of us and it is very true that a small group can have its very own special dynamics.
For the very first time in SBMY history that we went in depth to share about what were the feelings and observations we had during the 10 minutes meditation and our practices before and you will hear very interesting responses like “I felt like I was in a black room, spinning 360 degrees”, “I have seen white light”, “I feel jerky and when I was about to gain concentration, the meditation ended” and so forth. The truth is when I heard this, my instant response was really?? Sounds a little bizarre to be true no?? But, I gather the neutral observation that we are practicing Buddhists and we are all at various stages in our practice – by coming together it reassures only one thing for us to continuously encourage each other to strive on our practice and learn from each other’s experiences.
Zeming then alluded to how the 8 worldly winds (praise & blame, fame & defame, success & failure, pleasure & pain) often blow us in different directions in our life creating some sort of instability to our happiness index. I am one of those who would put my hands up (if not my legs as well) to say “Yeah tell me about it – I can get so excitable when something goes my way, and Boom, I can also go downhill when I meet with challenges”. And, I have always known why – the anchor of equanimity (upekkha), one of the Brahma Vihara values that many people have said most difficult to explain and to a certain extent most challenging to grasp for it is where we learn to strike the joy of equilibrium.
One of those things that often troubled me is I am fully aware what is the problem but it is often easier said than done. So, I am very appreciative that Brother Perry (after his overnight meditation & Buddhist Youth Network meeting) still decided to join us (or probably more so because Zeming “arrowed” him on the spot) to share how do we practice joy through meditation. And he was sharing with us the concept of “re-perception” and at many times used the term “battling of hindrances” through body awareness.
Sounds a little daunting and immediately right after, the hindrance of “skepticism & self doubt” arised in me and I start asking some rather conflicting questions. I sincerely apologize that the question stemmed from such hindrance but I really hope that YAG will gather conditions and encouragement for young adults like us are often busy with our day to day life to consciously challenge ourselves to reflect on how to practice the dhamma or experience the dhamma to make our every moment a strive to be a better person and fully accept ourselves even though we are not there yet.
And with that, I hope the next time I watch the Mediacorp documentary (which is the trigger on why I started penning this note) on how children in Poipet (Thai & Cambodia border) struggles with the risk of human trafficking simply because USD 3 can buy a child’s virginity – I will not just revert to having overpowering compassion which trigger tears in my eyes and hence, not being able to sit through the documentary but gather sufficient courage to acknowledge the circumstances and understand how we as a community can help people that are truly in need…