An event on racial healing for XR Buddhists. We will ask what this means in our lives, for us as activists, and for us in the UK.
This is a response to the current events including pandemic, the death of George Floyd, Black Lives Matter protests in the UK and a growing commitment within XR to become more inclusive and diverse. There will be two short presentations by Satya and Avni, time in small groups for reflection on the questions, and Buddhist practice.
This follows on from an event hosted by Satya and Rehena in July
As I cycle towards Parliament Square, fond memories of past vigils come to mind- particularly of a chilly february morning at the lent interfaith vigil, and of the rebellion vigil.
When I arrive at the Vigil, there are 8 of us, some familiar and some new faces. This is the first Friday for this vigil, but a group called ‘Westminster Rebellion’ is organising a rota so that different XR groups are present at parliament every day the parliament sits, until COP26. Originally COP26 was supposed to happen this November in Glasgow, but then it got postponed November 2021 at the beginning of the pandemic – the conference centre in Glasgow is now a temporary hospital on stand-by for people suffering from Covid.
But back to Parliament Square. The faith vigil, which is happening mostly online at the moment, is being held in front of Westminster on Fridays, and today I am part of it. After freezing in February, I have come prepared this time. It turns out my many layers are not needed as it’s actually a mild day, the sun is coming out for a bit to greet us, it seems.
Sitting there we do attract some curiosity from passers-by. Some people are walking past, slowing down, looking. When I am not meditating I am trying to make eye contact. A few are stopping to talk to us, either in support or because they have questions.
I am actually doing a good chunk of meditation that afternoon, then I take a break and get into a conversation with a fellow vigiler. We talk about how this is different to meditating for example in front of a police line at a roadblock. Is this an effective action? We are not causing disruption today, but we are working with our minds in meditation, and sending a powerful signal – about unity as an interfaith vigil, and about the importance of acting on climate change.
I think for a while I used to run away from interfaith things, weary of difficult conversations about past and present injustices. But I have come to realise that people that are part of a faith or spiritual tradition often have a kind of superpower. At least that’s how I think about it now. Our actions come from a place of very deep conviction, or faith, and we also have the power of being part of a community. And when we come together, we do send a powerful signal of unity in divided times.
And then COP26. People say a major factor will be the next US government. But that’s not within my sphere of influence, so I keep focussing on what I can influence. And that’s why we sit here and meditate. And protest. And have conversations.
Reflecting that night at home I am being reminded of a sequence of offerings sometimes used for the mandala offering practice.
The outer offering, what other people can see, is us sitting there outside Westminster – a reminder to the government to act on climate change.
The inner offering, my sense experience, is one of calm and non-violence.
The secret offering, what this means to me, unity and non-separation.
The online vigil offering during the recent XR Rebellion Vigil for the Earth was a powerful and much appreciated space for multi faith prayer and meditation sessions with practice focused on our love for the Earth and grief for life lost. The desire of many who were involved is to have something of this going forward.
Twice a week for one hour with input from various faith groups reflecting the diversity of tradition and practice within XR Faith Bridge we will create a space:
To bear witness for the Earth
To provide a regenerative space of spiritual resourcing for all who wish to share in it
To enrich our spiritual practices by experiencing and sharing in each other’s traditions and practices
To build a community of respect, support and friendship by creating a shared sacred space
To prepare ourselves for the next period of rebellion
Sessions will take place on Sundays at 7pm and Wednesdays at 9 am beginning with offerings from different faith traditions on Sunday 27th September at 7pm. Please join us, you are welcome wherever in the world you may be.
The Zoom link for joining is a recurring link for each Sunday and Wednesday
“This vigil is beautiful in its simplicity and powerful in its intent – to come together as people from different faith communities and from all philosophies, and to sit together in our grief and our deep love for our planet.”
XR Buddhists in Cardiff are joining members of different faith groups from the 1st-4th of September, outside of Welsh Parliament, will hold vigil for our planet, whilst setting the intention for our government to act now against climate change. All are welcome, of all faiths and experience, we invite you to take your seat, breathe and sit with love and grief.
Where will we be?
Join us on the steps of the Senydd building (Senydd Cymru – Welsh Parliament) in Cardiff Bay between 10am-6pm
Welsh Parliament, Pierhead Street, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, CF99 1SN
We will be holding signs with ‘Faith Vigil for the Earth’ and looking friendly!
You can spend as much or as little time with us as you like. Take as many breaks as you need – there are lots of food shops and cafes nearby.
Will it be safe?
This action is as non-arrestable as possible. We will not be blocking any roads, paths or causing disruption, we will be sitting outside of the Senydd building and do not expect to be moved on.
We will also have a steward at all times to chat to the public, ensure social distancing and welcome anyone who joins us.
We will have beautiful 2.5 metre ribbons between us for social distancing, as well as wearing masks. We will also have sanitiser.
Do I need to be part of XR Buddhists, Extinction Rebellion or faith group?
No, this is open to all people, regardless of faith or group to sit in quiet solidarity with the earth.
What do I need to bring?
You might want to bring something to sit on – a chair or cushion or blanket – suitable clothes (do check the weather for rain!) and something to drink and eat. Please wear a mask at all times. Also some hand sanitiser!
During the September Rebellion, from 7pm on Monday 31st August until 7pm on Monday 7th September, multi-faith prayer Vigils for the Earth will be held in London, Cardiff, Great Malvern, Lewes, and in other locations. Here is an invitation for those of us who will not be attending the Rebellion in person to offer prayer and support to those who are from our own homes and from the heart of our own faith traditions.
To join with the online vigil there is a rota here https://signup.zone/RwXDtpQpqSRnSagit where each of us can sign up for as many hour long periods as we choose from home. Please add your name by the times and days you wish to commit to being present. If there is someone in the space already then do add your name too. It will only increase the beauty and power of the vigil to have several of us present in mindful attention at one time.
Just need to click the link to join us. You are very welcome to do so for a few minutes, or for however long you would like.
The room will be open as follows
1800 – 2200
Tuesday 01/09 to Sunday 06/09 inclusive
0800 – 1100 And 1700 – 2115
0800 – 1100 And 1800 – 2000
We hope to have short live feeds from London, Cardiff and Manchester and members of different faith traditions will be offering to facilitate reflections, prayers, meditations, and readings online.
If you would like to offer to facilitate a session for a few minutes or longer please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with details of what you would like to share and when.
You can read more about the physical vigil here http://www.satyarobyn.com/vigil/, which will give a sense of the beautiful act of love and resistance being planned and which those of us from home can now be a part of.
Finally, there will be also be 9 minute pauses in the Rebellion every day at 9am and 9pm and we are all invited to join with the pause wherever we may be.