Walk into the Burke, Virginia, Dahn Yoga Center and you’ll find it bustling with activity. In addition to millions of LifeParticles igniting hundreds of visions and goals, Seungja Kim, the center manager, is delightedly very busy as she oversees ten Meditation Circle Leaders leading fifteen Energy Meditation Circles with 110 active participants.
“Leading meditation circles are important for core members who want to grow a lot,” she shares. “To be able to use what you have learned, to experience the delight of sharing LifeParticles, and to see others grow the spiritual sense that you have developed through your own practice—that is the essence and joy of a Dahn practitioner.”
Seungja Wonjangnim encourages all of her Dotong Gunjas to share the simple six steps of meditation with others. To further support the circle leaders, she meets individually with each of them at least once a week.
It’s more powerful when you lead
One member, Chunyong, leads three meditation circles now. The first is from home with neighbors who she invited by passing flyers door to door; the other two are outdoors at the park and at the center, both of which were advertised via www.meetup.com. “Even gathering with just one person creates momentum—it creates a change bigger than we are consciously aware of,” she says. “Dahn Yoga founder, Ilchi Lee, started with just one stroke victim in the park—and look where we are now!”
Chunyong feels she has benefited immensely from the experience of leading meditation circles. “I often think that I don’t have time, but I do it, anyway. When I am feeling rushed, discouraged, or down, I get the most out of leading others into a positive meditation. I found that as I do it for others, my meditation feels deeper. When leading, I am following what is happening inside of myself. I am often surprised by the experience of being the person vocalizing the meditation. I tend to go much deeper when leading others.”
Although her meditation groups are small, ranging from two to eight people, she says there is still a sense of community because circle members are happy to see each other weekly and share the commonality of positive experience. Chunyong encourages others to become a meditation circle leader and offers a tip. “When leading a meditation for others, try to focus on yourself, and just lead the meditation as if you were leading it for yourself. People are responsible for their own experiences. You can’t do it for them; you are merely creating the space for them to experience meditation. However, paradoxically, I find they only go as deeply as I go within myself.”
Expanding beyond the status quo
Member Debra Ferguson started leading her meditation circles in March at home with friends and family; then, at her center manager’s suggestion, she opened one on Sunday mornings at the Burke Center. “When I am actually standing in front of my meditation circle members, all of my nervousness melts away. I just want to connect with those beautiful souls in front of me, and encourage them to go deeper and dream bigger.”
She has noticed a lot of changes within herself since becoming a Dotong Gunja, a Dahn Master, and a Meditation Circle Leader. “I have lost over 100 pounds and gained a fun disposition at work, always bringing a topic to a positive one. I look to see the good in people and, if they are struggling, I try to brighten their day.” Her co-workers have also noticed the difference. She is often asked, “How do you keep it up?” and “You look so much younger.” Debra’s co-workers have shown an interest in participating in a meditation circle at work. She is working on getting approval from the CEO to find the time and space in the workday to share her LifeParticles “edge” with her coworkers.
She feels strongly about this vision. “Humanity won’t make it unless we all become enlightened. I understand that it has to start with me. I think about where I was when I started this journey—and that is what keeps me going. I am in a much better place now.”
Debra is delighted to share her knowledge and experience with anyone who wants to come to a meditation circle or is interested in leading one. “Going outside of your comfort zone is scary, but once you step out and muster the courage to try new experiences, you will grow immensely, and there is a great satisfaction in that.”
— Rebecca Tinkle