By way of introduction...
The SenGens (Senior Generation group) has entered its 4th year as a Kalyana Mitta (Spiritual Friend) organization sponsored by the Durango Dharma Center. This community group is open to those 60 and above and is regularly attended by those from age 60 to well into their 80s. Although our discussions take place in a strong Buddhist environment, the participants often express and regularly practice very different spiritual backgrounds and beliefs.
SenGens is blessed with spiritual leadership by DDC Dharma Leader Katherine Barr and is assisted by a rotating group of dedicated facilitators. SenGens, which meets twice monthly, gives its participants a chance to deeply contemplate and discuss the three heavenly messengers similar to those met by the Buddha early in his life. That is, the messengers of aging, illness and death which are experienced by us all.
During the last three years, our topics have ranged from aging well to near-death experiences and from passing on our legacies to planning our death with worse and best case scenarios. The safety and security of our environment has permitted us to not only contemplate these topics but to share our thoughts using methods from dyads/triads to journaling and group discussions. Over this period the safety of this group has led to a deep level of sharing as related to our contemplation and understanding of aging, illness and death.
As an example, in our 4th year, the SenGens have chosen to concentrate during an extended series of sessions on the challenging book by Stephen Levine titled “A Year to Live”. Living, through the words of Levine, as though death was quite imminent, our contemplative sessions have included: the fears of dying, the process of life reviews, the actual sensing of death, as well as our detachment from worldly possessions.
In summary, over this extended period, we SenGens have continued to believe in three “mantras”. These are: 1) sixty and above 2) a welcome to the three heavenly messengers 3) a process of sharing, not teaching
We believe this group meets the need of all seniors in providing a safe and nurturing environment in which all participants can openly discuss their experiences related to aging and dying, including their fears, their losses and their needs going forward. Importantly, we continue to stress the joys associated with the wisdom that inevitably accompanies aging. We invite all, within our age constraints, to join us for these sessions.
(revised by RPark Jan 2017)