Greetings Mindful Members,
Thanks to each of you for responding to the Mindful Members survey last month.
Four Mindful Members volunteered to devise the survey: Karen Ragon, Maria Zuluaga, Sandy Altshuler, and Cathy Francis. We received twenty responses. Karen and Cathy collated the survey responses and they along with Maria met with Ruth to discuss and summarize them. This note is intended to reflect our summary and to report to you what we have learned from your responses. In a letter to follow soon, Ruth will share her plans for the future, incorporating what she has heard from you in the survey. What we learned from the survey responses follows.
The majority of responders want to deepen their practice by being part of an intimate community of like-minded people with Ruth as teacher. They want a structured environment focused on Dharma and Sangha, and they want a community that supports their individual practice and helps them to integrate throughout their daily lives the wisdom and joy the practice brings. Most want to continue to have monthly sits and there is definite interest for extended, structured learning opportunities, such as a year-long Wisdom Study group.
No one responding to the survey is entirely new to meditation. Most people have a daily practice at home and practice from 15 – 30 minutes per day. The majority state that they have been practicing Vipassana and Choiceless Awareness. Some practice heart-centered meditation and some practices are based on concentration and other centering techniques. Responders cite Buddhist, Christian and Hindu teachings, in that order, as influencing their practice.
There is a broad range of retreat experience among survey responders, from none whatsoever to multiple day-long and week-long retreats over many years. Most describe their retreat experience as either Vipassana or secular based. Going forward, the retreat format favored by most responders is for day-long Saturday or Sunday retreats and many members are willing to volunteer to help with various aspects of organizing a successful retreat.
Most responders cite some form of conflict, either with schedules or priorities as the main impediment to attending the monthly sits. For a few, distance is a factor. The majority of members are in Charlotte but there are several who have to travel from Rock Hill, Concord or Belmont. And while Thursday is the best day for most members, unfortunately there are 3 members for whom Thursday does not work at all, at least not right now.
In conclusion, we hope this summary is an accurate reflection of the survey responses. Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts. We look forward to building our practices and our community together.
Kind regards, Cathy, Karen, Maria
August 16, 2016