Saturday, June 2, 2007

Inner Work School

After seventeen years of operation, the Inner Work school is to be wound up. The last meeting will be held this month, on 9th June, at the Central YMCA in Great Russell Street, Central London.

Established in 1990 by the late Ray Wills as a radical meeting point for Buddhists of all traditions and none, the School supported the idea of inner work without overt hierarchical ideological direction or leadership, using the ad hoc resources of individual dharma-practitioners, within a context of spiritual companionship.

It was always only a small group, starting with about a eighteen individuals who committed to regular monthly attendance, and quickly dwindling to about half that number, with attendance more sporadic (but with no less commitment), and with meetings that became progressively less structured and more adventitious, open to the emergent, more dialogic, more discursive and fluid. Sometimes the meeting comprised Ray Wills and one other, occasionally this other was myself. The meetings were no less robust and significant because they were not heavily populated, and I looked forward to them immensely. Ray was enormously companionable, and wore his great scholarship and dharma-wisdom very lightly.

Since Ray's death in 2000, the School has continued to meet, with some new members and a dwindling handful of founder-members through ill-health, incapacity and death. The School has survived four changes of venue, all have been by the courtesy and good offices of the YMCA, to whom we are very grateful.

Having run its course, it is now time for us to lay down the baton (so to speak), and rest a while. Friendships will continue beyond our formal meetings, I'm sure, and the work continues elsewhere.

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