Monday May 15, 7:30 pm

Once a month we come together as a community to discuss democracy - how it affects us, how we affect it, and what it all means anyway. Ordinary people can make a difference in the world if they come together as communities, regardless of political lines.

Our question this month is: How does belief affect democracy? Democracy Cafe was founded by the philosopher Christopher Phillips, as part of his Socrates Cafe initiative. The goal is to use a method of dialog inspired by Socrates to uncover truths about the world—in this case the world of democracy, open societies, and politics in general. We're adding to the hundreds of such cafe's that exist worldwide. Receiving information from the Internet (or any source) is detrimental to our critical abilities, unless we can also meet communally with citizens in our local communities, to discuss the world in an open manner on a regular basis.

Odin Halvorson is a published writer of short stories and poetry, who has helped bring National Novel Writing Month to Sonoma County during the last two years as a volunteer liaison. As the facilitator for Democracy Café, he hopes to bring political involvement back to those communities where it's needed most. Learn more about him at his website, OdinHalvorson.com

To Follow Your Bliss, First Follow Your Dread
Tayu Meditation Center Staff
Tuesdays, 7:30 pm: May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

Joseph Campbell famously advised "Follow Your Bliss." Inspirational advice—but offered with no clear operating instructions, no means to accomplish the goal. St. Paul described the inherent difficulty with high aspiration when he admitted that he did not live up his own commitment to do good. We reach upwards toward bliss, but something pulls us back, as we find ourselves speaking harshly to a loved one, lying to make ourselves look good in comparison to others, or grasping after more than our fair share. To effectively address this pattern, it is crucial to lay a foundation that can support our ambitions to realize indisputable joy.

Follow Your Dread is the starting direction that points toward a realistic route to bliss. We need to see the operation of the mechanical habits that structure our experience. And we need to grasp viscerally that those mechanical habits keep producing the same results in our lives. That means we must acknowledge the effects that our actions produce, not as an abstraction in the mind, but as something we can taste and smell. Furthermore, we need to widen our perspective to include the actual effects of our mechanical habits on the lives of others as well. This can be extraordinarily difficult because we have big investments in fooling ourselves about who we are and what we're up to. It is far more comfortable to settle for the excuses we make to ourselves than to admit that we have ultimate responsibility for our actions—even for our actions that are the product of ingrained mechanical habits that we fear to examine.

The difficulty of the undertaking demands help. The weekly Follow Your Dread group meeting offers substantial practices for self-inquiry, and an ongoing forum for practical mutual assistance. Only with such tools can we hope to comprehend what we fear, and make Follow Your Dread more than just another slogan. Take up the challenge if you dare.
© 2017 Tayu Order, Inc.