What are KM Groups?
"Kalyana mitta," which means "spiritual friend," is at the heart of every sangha. Kalyana mitta (KM) groups serve as sub-sanghas within SIMS. All KM members must be attendees of SIMS, meditators within the Vipassana (Insight) Buddhist tradition, and have had the beginning meditation instructions. These KM groups of six to twelve people provide a sense of intimacy and enhanced opportunities to move one’s practice beyond the cushion and into daily life. Some are peer groups with evolving themes; other groups remain focused on a selected subject. New groups are formed sporadically and meet for an initial period of three to six months, with each member expected to attend all meetings. Then, if group members wish to do so, the group may continue for a length determined by the group. If some members elect to leave, the group may open to new members.
As with sitting meditation, the foundation for kalyana mitta groups is stillness and mindfulness through eye, ear, body, and mind. This naturally fosters an awareness of our connection with one another which, in turn, deepens the sense of safety and kindness in the group allowing for rich investigation.
The spirit of generosity is at the heart of every kalyana mitta group. Your service as a participant not only nourishes your own practice off the cushion, but also becomes a practice of generosity—an offering of temporal, emotional, and experiential dana to the SIMS sangha. Without this generous commitment these groups could not be sustained.
To contact the facilitator of a current group or learn whether there are group openings, please use the contact information for each group listed below, or contact the KM Coordinator. The current status of KM groups and any openings can also be found on the bulletin board at the Tuesday-night sits.
Two experienced SIMS sangha members facilitate each kalyana mitta group: one with at least three years years of Vipassana practice experience, and a second with at least two years of practice. The primary responsibility of facilitators is to create the optimum space for rich dharma discussion—a place and time of safety, confidentiality, nurturing and commitment.
Rather than leading or teaching, KM facilitators serve the group more like an observing mind during meditation. Facilitators help establish the primary focus and gently direct and re-direct the group back to the dharma and selected subject whenever it wanders by creating structure and modeling behaviors that contribute to healthy group dynamics. As the group matures, this gentle “calling back to the moment” becomes self-reinforcing and opens the way for the group to grow deeper intod practice and spiritual friendship—the very meaning of kalyana mitta.
New facilitators and anyone interested in becoming a facilitator attend an introductory session for guidance and support. SIMS provides a variety of supportive resources for facilitators throughout the year, including quarterly facilitator gatherings and individual guidance whenever requested.
The next KM Facilitator training will be held on 16 May 2013. If you are interested in participating, please contact the KM Coordinator for more information.
Your service as a facilitator not only nourishes your own practice off the cushion, but also becomes a practice of generosity—an offering of temporal, emotional and experiential dana to the SIMS sangha.
If you are interested in participating in a KM group as co-facilitator please contact the KM Coordinator.