A Community Collaborative

On Thursday March 21st, SMCLA hosted a remarkable gathering of 32 people for the Creating Good Work/Building Healthy Economies event.  The event drew about ten sangha members and 22 non-members, many of whom had entered a Shambhala center and shrine room for the very first time. Many were also hearing about Creating Enlightened Society for the first time. Ron Schultz, the organizer, tells us more about what took place that evening.

It was a wonderful event, featuring brief talks by contributors to the Creating Good Work book: Greg Wendt, Green Economy Think Tank, Gary Kosman, AmericaLearns, and one from me, as well. OK mine wasn’t so brief, but we still seemed to have a fully engaged assembly.


After the talks, we broke-up into five collaborative circles to discuss what first steps we could take to build a healthy local economy. The interactions, which lasted for about 30 minutes, were lively and filled with great energy with everyone involved. They also surfaced some wonderful ideas. One of which was to survey the community, much like a census, to find out what the community favored as a way of building a healthy economy. We could enlist local student populations and non-profits to perform the survey and use the results as a means of further engaging the community.


Other ideas centered around our being curious and open to others. Making simple one-to-one connections with people we may not know or who we just meet, and modeling the behavior we want others to emulate. This grew out in part of our discussion of Commonwealth: what we all share together, that goes beyond parks and trees and streets and open source software. Real commonwealth can show up as such things as expertise, knowledge, wisdom, compassion, and generosity, and it’s something 100% of us own.

When the conversation finally spilled out into the community room, people were still not ready to leave. They clustered together around the Shambhala reception, and continued on for close to another hour.

Hopefully, this evening of collaborative discussion on what it means to reach out into our community, off the cushion, will soon be one of many such events – events in which we, as Shambhalians, model the behaviors of an enlightened society, and by that modeling influence others to act in accord. Moving from the cushion to community starts when our folks show-up. Because when we do, the authenticity that arises from the upliftedness of our space and our hearts, informs and reshapes those who are touched by them.

Thank you for supporting this effort. Now let’s not dream about enlightened society, let’s build it, together.

Ron SchultzRon Schultz is the author and editor of 23 books including Creating Good Work – The World’s Leading Social Entrepreneurs Show How to Build a Healthy Economy (Palgrave Macmillan).

2 thoughts on “A Community Collaborative

  1. Really great photos and really great to see open exchanges taking place. I hope SMCLA will continue to host collaborative events like this one, especially more explorations of diverse views on the many things that “healthy economy” might mean and how that relates to enlightened society.

    I’m personally very interested in how the Shambhala teachings might relate to Lawrence Lessig and the Free Culture movement, Charles’ Eisenstein’s Sacred Economics and his ideas about the fundamental primacy of the gift, David Graeber’s History of Debt, the Echo Park and Arroyo Time Banks, Occupy Wall Street, the Pay What You Want model, etc.

    This Eisenstein quote, in particular, resonates very much with Shambhala and Enlightened Society, to me:

    “The foundational idea is that we live in a gift universe. We didn’t earn being born, being fed as babies, having an earth to live on, air to breathe, water to drink. All came as a gift. Ancient cultures often recognized this explicitly; theirs was a gift cosmology that was echoed in their economic systems.”