Shutafim Lamasa - Journey Companions
When we find ourselves in medical, emotional or other crisis situations, the usual perceptions and worldviews that previously supported us often break down, and many times we are carried away by a vortex of actions and reactions. In such situations, it is important to learn how we can avoid burdening ourselves with unnecessary suffering, by distinguishing the “objective” situation that we are dealing with from the additional suffering that arises through our reactions, interpretations and habits.
Buddhist practice, which is based on theoretical principles coupled with meditation practice, focuses precisely on this: the ability to distinguish unavoidable pain from unnecessary suffering.
Modern society tends to estrange sick, aging, and disabled people, and especially any mention of death and the finiteness of life. When sickness or crisis bring us to the verge of death, we sometimes find that death is very frightening, and when that occurs it paralyzes us and our dear ones .The sick often find themselves isolated, severed from the possibility of speaking freely with their companions and loved ones, trapped in constructs of silence and estrangement that bring about great suffering.
As part of our practice and study of the Buddhist tradition, we choose to open up to life in its entirety, including sickness, old age and death. We find that there is great strength in this approach, and we strive to share it with others.
We offer a support system intended for any person who is in crisis or facing challenges, and who is willing to explore ways in which he or she can help themselves, and subsequently others around them.
The program "Shutafim Lamasa"
The “Shutafim Lamasa” (Journey Companions) program is based on senior Dharma students and teachers, who, as part of their personal practice, are willing and happy to share their journey with any person who may benefit from such support.
The support system offers individual meetings with a skilled and trained senior student ,as well as a variety of weekly group meetings, a library with relevant materials, a well-developed website and more.
As part of the support system, we are launching a bi-annual program to train senior students to support people in crisis situations - people with severe illness, people who are dying ,and their families, as well as generally supporting people who are dealing with all kinds of health-related crises, separations, mental illnesses and other crisis situations. The “Journey Partner” does not replace a therapist, and is not certified to intervene in therapeutic, medical or other processes. His or her role is to stand by the person who is in crisis, and help them with the spiritual aspects of their struggle; i.e. the examination of the opportunities that are presented by the crisis, the possibility of having a different perspective of the situation, using the experience to open the heart, to make inner peace and to enable outer peace, and so forth.
The program’s potential candidates
Potential candidates for the program are dedicated meditation and Buddhism senior practitioners, with priority given to graduates of relevant courses. Acceptance into the program will be subject to an interview to determine suitability, in terms of both the depth of one’s practice and commitment, and
the appropriate motivation
The participants in the program
There will be a limited number of participants in the program (15-18 participants), in order to enable close monitoring and individual tutoring, as needed.
The program participants will commit upfront to offer support to people in need for at least 4 years, with no financial compensation. Participants will also participate in covering the program costs.
Your contributions and assistance will enable the program participants to fully devote themselves to their volunteer work and contribute their time to the ill, their families and other people in need. We assume and expect that graduates of the training program will continue to offer their services without monetary compensation beyond the commitment period, which means that all your donations will hopefully enable many more hours of support in the future.