Zooming through lockdown

Our online meditation classes and pujas, using zoom, have proved a valuable part of lockdown life for many members of the Kagyu Dechen community. Here a few people talk about their experiences.

Kit and Meg’s story

Living in Devon, we are a far outpost of the Dechen community in the UK. We travel to Manchester three times a year to attend Lama Jampa Thaye’s teachings there. Through the Covid-19 lockdown this has been impossible, as has meeting with any community members.

From the beginning of the lockdown, Dechen Kagyu Ling in Manchester has been using Zoom to bring all their weekly practices to the whole community. This has been the most wonderful resource for us, far away in the West Country. Through these strange and sometimes difficult times, this has allowed us to maintain and deepen our Buddhist practice and to stay in touch with our friends in the north.

We are so very grateful for the resourcefulness and dedication of Dechen Kagyu Ling. We hope very much that they will be able to continue with these meditation sessions via Zoom well into the future and it will become a means for growing and supporting our community.

Viera’s story

I have been self-isolating throughout lockdown because I and one of my family members are vulnerable. Online sessions have been very powerful for me, knowing that we were all practising together. It is great to see and chat to friends before and after the practice and it is entertaining to listen to the conversations between some of our community’s children!

The zoom sessions have given a structure to my weeks over the last few months – not just the practice sessions and classes I’ve attended, but I’ve also started learning Tibetan online with a group led by a community member in Bristol! These have definitely helped me to retain my connection to the Dechen community and I would love them to continue as the lockdown eases. It would enable me to attend more meetings and practice sessions, and continue to draw on the support of the community.

Chris’s story

Zoom had enabled me to practise with other sangha members whilst juggling various care commitments. Zoom created a valued connection.

I will continue to join these sessions as long as they are available and look forward to joining more online sessions as my responsibilities ease. Thanks to all those who made this possible over the last few months.

Vicky’s story

Covid 19 seems to affect everyone differently. Many people reading this will have suffered from it themselves, or known others who have. Here Vicky tells of her experience of being hit by the virus.

Like everyone else, Covid 19 seemed far away and something that happened to other people. As someone who very rarely gets colds or any infections, I was pretty confident of avoiding it, so got to work making vast quantities of Norwegian pea soup to freeze so that, in the event of friends and neighbours coming down with the virus, I could drop off supplies to those in need.

Pride comes before a fall. In mid March I started to feel rough, but was convinced it was an ill-timed cold. Things turned worse and I steadily had more and more difficulty breathing, making concentration and daily practice more and more problematic.

A call to 111 when things were really bad gave me two choices: either stay at home and self isolate, or call 999. Well, to say the least, there’s a world of grey area in-between those options! But I decided to stay home. Unfortunately at this point I found practice impossible as I couldn’t sit up and breathe properly.

Friends, especially sangha ones, were extremely supportive at this time and their daily texts made me feel loved and valued during this very low time.

Recovery is very very slow and every time I felt a little better, my breathing would go back to square one. Today I’m still not back to normal but am hoping that things will improve from now on.

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