Beloved Community

The Sunyata Association 501(c)(3) Public Benefit Charity defines Beloved Community as a cultural response to extinction-level issues, high-leverage, and/or high-impact problems such as — ineffective leadership, global climate change, pandemics, basic healthcare and wellness, warfare, famine, obesity, potable water shortage, aging populations, energy crises, ecosystem degradation, pollution, etc. We define the practice of "Beloved Community" as the intentional collective learning and living of the practices of Compassion (Unconditional Love) and the cultivation of Trust so as to take wise action in transforming fear, hatred, conflict, despair, and suffering into mutuality, justice, equity, hope, and joy for the purpose to manifesting a sustainable world that works for all.

A key aspect of the Sunyata Association mission historically, is to cultivate “Beloved Community” by using compassion as our core practice for building efficient and effective relationships, living in healthy communities, and manifesting wise collective leadership and action. An example of cultivating a “Beloved Community” is the Sunyata Association role in participating in the drafting and filing of the Compassionate Action Network (CAN) charter with the IRS in 2009 as a 501 (c)(3) charity. Another example is the Sunyata Association role in hosting monthly Solidarity Beloved Community Initiative (SBCI) from 2008 through 2010. A more recent example is the Sunyata Association role in sharing the sponsorship of the Call of Compassion Northwest (CCNW) in their “Honoring Beloved Communities” project — which seeks out, identifies, interconnects, and honors Beloved Communities in the Cascadia Bioregion. CCNW works with them to identify, share, and leverage: cultural gifts; personal, interpersonal, and cultural healing practices; creative artistry practices; and leadership and organizational insights and best practices. We subscribe to the Compassionate Action Network (CAN) mission of “nurturing compassion in our children, ourselves, and our world”. We see ourselves as a compassion lens that focuses attention on how we are being when we are doing our work in the world. We build “Beloved Community” by harnessing the power of compassionate relationships – manifesting the magic that results from the emergence of inspired local action, the coherent behavior of individuals and organizations, and the order and structure provided by wise leadership and action. We provide a unifying social hub that cultivates compassionate leadership to combine and amplify the work of individuals, organizations, and programs by bringing compassionate action consciously into the good work they are already doing.

We believe that we only build “Beloved Community” when we model compassion in all of our work and all of our relationships. As Native American leader Phil Lane has said, "Starting from within, working in a circle in a sacred manner, we develop and heal ourselves, our relationships and the world." Whatever our roles, we all take responsibility for the health and well-being of our communities and their constituents. We are all weavers of the “radiant network” — finding and supporting jewels in a radiant necklace. The structural foundation of “Beloved Community” is the compassionate and loving relationships we have with each other. Our relationships enable us to trust ourselves and each other. The trust we build gives us the courage and commitment to act together on behalf of ourselves, our children, our communities, and our world. As such, Sunyata functions as a set of concentric and interlocking circles of individuals and organizations – volunteers and paid support staff – who to take on collective responsibility for leading and contributing to our common work. We make decisions transparently, using compassion as the guiding principle through all of our encounters, all of our decisions, and all of our work. We use gatherings and conversations in person and online to build strong mutual understanding. We welcome and rely on diverse voices from diverse communities. We commit ourselves to the practice of Hearing, Seeing, and unconditionally Loving (H-S-L) ourselves, each other, and our ecosystems in – every encounter and every relationship. Sunyata Association is committed to compassionate action, not just compassionate feelings or compassionate talk. We measure our effectiveness by lives changed, communities transformed, reconciliation accomplished, peace built, and justice realized. We count on each other as individuals, organizations, and networks to collectively take on specific projects with specific and measurable outcomes, and then to report on their work. We acknowledge and learn from our failures and we celebrate our accomplishments. Together, we change our world in concrete and measurable ways!

Sunyata Association envisions Beloved Communities as sustainable learning communities comprised of social, economic, environmental, and spiritual leaders and practitioners where the practice of individual and collective compassion and awareness is in service of decreasing suffering and increasing joy in the world. From a spiritual perspective we believe that it is within these Beloved Community that collective awakening (Collective Buddha | Christ-Consciouness | Ground of Being) and “enlightened community” (Bodhisangha) are developed and manifested. And we have been implementing Beloved Community prototypes as cultural competency, leadership, and community development prototypes since 2004.

The prototypes have focused on the centrality of relational competency as the highest form of knowing and leadership for creating social, economic, environmental, and spiritual well-being. These projects have involved manifesting "Beloved Community" in for-profit, non-profit, corporate, community, and government teams and organizations. The projects are intended to inspire and prepare participants to wisely serve and protect each other (community), strengthen local communities to become more collaborative and economically competitive, and strengthen collaborating communities to become more efficient and effective in ensuring that local communities thrive and are resilient within global organizational ecosystems. Sunyata-supported Beloved Community projects focus on the exploration of resilient high-performance communities to serve as agents for healing and sustaining all aspects of the world (tikkun olam). The projects develop and host community-centered, compassion-based, wise collective leadership and action, and are the virtual and physical communities where the agents of social, economic, environmental, and spiritual wellbeing collaborate to heal and sustain the world. We assert the essentialness of performing compassionate action — not just experiencing compassionate feelings or having compassionate talk — and measuring success by the positive effectiveness of lives changed, communities transformed, peace achieved, and sustainability realized. Sunyata Beloved Communities hosted spaces provide relational containers for the intentional discovery, articulation, and manifestation of authentic presence in the service of higher purpose. These “spaces” are intended to host social, economic, environmental, and spiritual leaders and practitioners to research, explore, teach, learn, and practice personal and organizational mastery in service of healing the world (tikkun olam). The Invitation always uses some form of the following questions:
  1. What becomes possible together (collaboration) that is unlikely to happen separately?
  2. What activities and projects are ready for collaboration or are emerging?
  3. What does such engagement look like across time-zones, cultures, and countries?
The Sunyata Association practice for manifesting Beloved Community involves cultivating efficient and effective relationships through shared purpose (highest aspiration), natural selection (fit-to-environment), self-organization (generative patterns), and affinity of consciousness (awareness | volition | learning | practice | depth). This means committing to the practice of Hearing, Seeing, and unconditionally Loving (H-S-L) ourselves, each other, and our ecosystems in – every encounter and every relationship. Being individually and collectively accountable for H-S-L and the promises and commitments we make – by asking: “Is this action helpful (manifests well-being), compassionate (manifests unconditional love) and transparent (manifests trust), or is it simply an inappropriate exercise of power or unexamined assumptions?”

The Sunyata Association is committed to discovering and sustaining networks of Beloved Communities in addressing extinction-level issues for themselves, each other, and their relational ecosystems.

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  1. Integral Leadership
  2. Integral Wellness