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General News · 16th December 2012
Mark Braaten
Maybe you have seen a poster or events calendar listing about the Discovery Island Satsang, and wondered what it was all about. I write this article to give a bit more information about our common interests and practices.
Our satsang gatherings have been held on Cortes Island in various forms for more than 3 years now. The word “satsang” has many profound meanings. “Sat” means the real, abiding and changeless truth. “Sang” refers to a support community. Most simply a satsang is a group who supports each other to learn, grow and serve. These basic intentions are shared by many individuals and groups in the Cortes Community.

Members of our satsang share an interest in studying and practicing the wisdom of great spiritual teachers past and present. We have a special connection with one teacher who is known by the name Amma, or Mother for her love and compassion towards all beings. She has also been nicknamed “the hugging saint” because she has hugged over 30 million people in her lifetime! Her monastic name is Mata Amritanandamayi (Mother of immortal bliss).

Although Amma is regarded as a spiritual leader in India, she says that her religion is love. She has never asked anyone to change their religion but asks her followers to contemplate the principles of their own faith and to live accordingly.

Amma is also known internationally as the founder and leader of the humanitarian organization “Embracing the World”.

" Embracing the World® is a global network of local and regional charitable organizations and
projects which grew out of the India-based charitable projects of the Mata Amritanandamayi Math...Amma teaches that everyone — rich or poor — has the power to make a difference in the life of another, and that no selfless gesture is insignificant. Rather, it is the selfless actions we perform for one another that hold the keys to true peace — peace in the individual, peace in the community and peace among diverse cultures, nations and faiths. Amma’s centers in many countries contribute to this humanitarian effort by inspiring people to serve selflessly in the building of a better world. " – Amma.org

Participants need not have a particular relationship with Amma to enjoy our satsang gatherings. Our group brings a valuable diversity of perspectives and wisdom from other teachers and experiences. We find it rewarding to share what we have in common and safe to explore the ways that we see things differently. Amma has given her blessing to our satsang and she teaches that the benefit of our gatherings should be shared not only by those who attend but also by the community, and the whole environment.

Our satsang meets every Sunday evening for a formal celebration that includes some special Sanskrit chants, short meditation, reading of inspirational writing or storytelling and singing. We have advertised our Sunday evening get togethers with posters and on the tideline events calendar over the past few years. One of our main activities is singing and playing devotional songs, in a call and response style. Some of the songs are simple, but many are more complex with intricate melodies and unique rhythms that take some time and effort to learn. We find learning the music very rewarding, and enjoy singing and praying together. We have singing practices on Tuesday evenings that are open for anyone who wants to learn, or share a song to sing together.

Other activities that our satsang enjoys are weekly study groups, fundraising for charity, community service, celebrating festivals, “green friends” activities such as garbage clean up and gardening parties, youth activities, group meditation, traditional Sanskrit chanting, weekly prayers for world peace, seasonal retreats and travelling to be with Amma when she comes to the Pacific Northwest.

I will try to offer updates on our activities from time to time. Most of all we hope you feel most
welcome and comfortable to drop by and join in anytime you like!

For more info, have a look at our webpage: http://amma.org/groups/north-america/cortes-island-bc , or call Mark and Madhurima at 935-6308