The Wake Up Israel/ Palestine Tour: True Freedom, True Home
Through our Dharma Outreach grants program, your generosity helped fund the “True Freedom, True Home” Wake Up Tour in Israel and Palestine.
The tour was led by a delegation of Plum Village monastics and lay friends who helped water seeds of peace, understanding and compassion in the region by offering mindfulness workshops, teachings, and retreats.
The delegation worked with existing Sanghas, young people never before exposed to mindfulness, non-profits working toward ecological safety, peace, and reconciliation, psychotherapists and medical staff, and families living in refugee camps.
The tour began in Israel, where the delegation helped share the benefits of mindfulness and compassionate understanding through a daylong retreat and by participating in a local radio interview.
To water the seeds of Israel’s Wake Up community, the team shared the practice across several groups of young adults, most of whom had never before been exposed to mindfulness practices. Their offerings helped inspire many Israeli young people to visit Plum Village, join the Wake Up Tel Aviv Sangha, take the Five Mindfulness Trainings and create a Wake Up Sangha in Jerusalem.
“As we were doing walking meditation, I realized that I am in Jerusalem and Jerusalem is in me, and that practicing in this retreat is just as important as outward activist efforts.” - Miriam
Aware of the exhaustion and frustration many caretakers and peace activists face, the tour team conducted workshops with psychotherapists and medical staff in Tel Aviv, and the NGO Breaking the Silence, which gives serving and discharged Israeli personnel and reservists a means to confidentially recount their experiences in the Occupied Territories.
The delegation traveled with Breaking the Silence staff to the city of Hebron in the West Bank, one of the tensest cities in the region. This was a particularly difficult day, because many violent incidents had occurred the day before, killing dozens of Palestinians. Together, the monastics and the NGO members explored questions of whether to use anger as a driving force, how to wisely take care of pain, and how to be truly present for our communities.
In the second half of the tour, the team offered mindfulness workshops in Palestine, for children and women in the Aida refugee camp, the Nablus Sangha and junior high school students in Hebron. The delegation also led a two-day retreat in Bethlehem. Although the practice of silent eating meditation was very different from the local community, retreat attendees were happy to follow the invitation. Retreat participants also translated the Plum Village song “Breathing In, Breathing Out” into Arabic, and shared their favorite Arabic songs with the visiting monastics.
The retreat and workshops were deeply inspiring to the West Bank local communities. Participants were eager to share the practice with their families, start local Sanghas, and even open a mindfulness center. The junior high school students in Hebron continue to practice mindfulness, alone and with their friends. Walaa, a local psychologist who works with the students, said:
“This program opened the kids in Hebron, West Bank, to a whole new world of meditation. They have been asking and demanding more sessions, and are very insightful about meditation. One of the students even posted photos on his Facebook account and said “‘Meditation- Love it!’”
Walaa shared her inspiration to create a regular kids group and women’s group in the area to continue practicing compassion and mindfulness.
Thank you so much for making this transformative and inspiring monastic tour possible. Your donation directly helps our world become a more peaceful place, planting seeds of compassion and understanding that will last for generations to come.
To learn more about our Dharma Outreach grants program, click here.
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