Touching Earth Sangha is a spiritual fellowship dedicated to embodying the clarity, joyfulness, and compassion that is our full potential as human beings. Our approach is rooted in the non-dual understanding of awareness beyond the illusion of the separate self – that our empty, clear perceiving of presence is our fundamental nature, and through grounding in this nature, we can become free of the burden and limitations of our individual conditioned stories, and the struggle and conflict that they engender. We recognize that such an awakened way of being is manifested through a responsible and caring way of daily living in harmony with all creatures and with our life-giving natural world. We see this non-harming and compassionate mode of living as both the catalyst and the most essential fruit of the spiritual path.
As many of our current society’s habits and behaviors have veered dangerously far from alignment with such a path, we find ourselves in a precarious global situation of ecological deterioration and climate emergency. Fully facing and accepting this reality, we affirm as a spiritual community that our practice must manifest a deep and heart-felt response. We recognize that a genuine and relevant spiritual life must awaken the courage to let go of those cultural habits that we come to see as unwholesome, and to exemplify a new and healthy way to live together lightly and peacefully on our planet. Guided by an honest and creative ethical vision, we can bring alive the truly revolutionary potential of spiritual life.
Along our path to live with less harm, and to develop and share greater joy and inspiration, we encourage a number of meditational practices that help us deepen our awareness of, and appreciation for, the beauty and contentment available in the present moment. The sitting practice of the Zen tradition is central for us, as is the satsang fellowship associated with the Advaita Vedanta tradition. We also engage with moving meditations and sound practices from a number of different traditions, such as qigong, taiji, and raga voice practice. Unlike some other spiritual groups, however, we don’t see the performance of our practices in themselves as the defining characteristic of genuine spiritual life – instead, we focus on how we can help all beings discover freedom from suffering, through the actions, decisions and character of our practical daily lives. The practices are there to reveal, deepen and clarify that process. The creation of a compassionate, aware, and simple way of life that can be shared with all of society is, for us, an essential aspect of the process of awakening, as well as it’s most crucial expression.
Therefore, as a spiritual fellowship (or sangha), we aim to be an example to the wider community of the possibility of simple and sustainable living in the midst of today’s world. Specifically, we encourage the letting go of the habit of consumerism, use a minimum of energy, embrace and aspire to a car-free way of life (or as minimal as possible), enjoy foods that cause the least harm to other animals or to the environment, and strive to create zero waste. Living in a way in which all people could enjoy, and with a level of resources that the earth can actually support, has been a hallmark of the spiritual movements that came before us – we practice in the light of this vision.
Also in line with the original spirit of traditional contemplative movements around the world, any programs we offer are always free of charge, on a purely donation basis. We are dedicated to letting go of the fear and competition deeply embedded in the money economy, and instead embrace the trust and compassion engendered by “gift economy” – a movement of sharing that cultivates our capacity for mutual care, and recognizes that true balance is not maintained by the self-serving mind, but by the vastness and richness of nature.
We host an outdoor meditation & discussion gathering every Sunday at 12:30 PM at the far southwest corner (up on the incline) of Laurelhurst Park in Southeast Portland, that everyone is welcome to join. At our Sunday Circle we sit, practice walking meditation, some simple qigong, and then share some words. After, we often enjoy some tea and snacks together.
On Thursday evening we have an indoor sit at the Sangha House at 608 SE 45th Ave. We sit for half an hour starting at 6pm, and then have some discussion. Just before that, at 5:30pm, we do some evening chanting, which anyone is welcome to join as well.
There is daily morning practice at the Sangha House as well that folks are welcome to join – if you’re interested, email us to get the details.
For folks new to sitting practice, a short meditation instruction can be provided before any of these events. Also, instruction in taiji, qigong, and raga practice can be arranged.
Our email address is touchingearth (at) riseup (dot) net, and if you’d like to get emails with the latest updates and offerings, just ask to be put on the email list. Stay in touch!
Here’s an interview with Touching Earth’s founder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwPclOWimOc&t=1836s
and another: https://simplicityzen.com/simplicity-zen-podcast-episode-39-an-interview-with-satya-vayu/
We have recorded some of the Sunday gathering talks – they can be found on Youtube on the Touching Earth Sangha channel. (Some older audio talks are on archive.org at this link: Touching Earth Talks; they also include some talks given by Satya elsewhere).
You can also click here for links to some of Satya’s writings.
Thanks for your interest!
May all beings be free and joyful!