Dear Friends of the Center for Nondualism,
You may have been informed of changes with the Center for Nondualism through various newsletters and emails. I want to personally share with you some of what has happened recently, some mistakes I have made, and what is planned for the future of the Center for Nondualism.
The Center for Nondualism was founded in July 2007 because the dominant worldview in our Northwest Florida area was dualistic Christian monotheism and there needed to be at least some small presence of a nondualistic (advaita)/monistic worldview in the community for the few who share that perspective. That need is still present and the Center for Nondualism will therefore be continued for the benefit of those who like to meet with others of like mind in a spirit of friendship and community.
One of the three directors of the Center for Nondualism along with the newest of the council members has started a new spinoff group known simply as "The Center", having dropped the heart of the Center for Nondualism by removing both the word "nondualism" and the organization's orientation to that worldview. To my knowledge no public information (such as a website or Facebook page) has yet been made available about this group and their mailing list and subscription information are secret (I know of this because people have forwarded me copies of the secret newsletters). If a public presence of this group is made available, that contact information will be made available through the Center for Nondualism website at http://centerfornondualism.org
and other communications, including the Facebook pages and newsletters.
Unfortunately, I have made several significant mistakes during the past month and I sincerely apologize for these mistakes. I promise you that I will work hard to rectify the mistakes, to serve the people of the Center for Nondualism, and to continue to make the nondual/monistic worldview available to the people of our Northwest Florida community.
The first mistake I made was in trusting that there was sincerity in continuing the Center for Nondualism and its statement of purpose. Rather than simply reorganizing the Center for Nondualism in ways they wished, they have removed "nondualism" from the Center for Nondualism. I acknowledge that I completely missed the intent to takeover and convert the Center, its principles and people, and its assets. I had mistakenly thought that there was a sincere wish to continue the Center for Nondualism as such.
I also made a mistake in agreeing to allow one of the directors to manage the Center alone without the balance of at least one other director. For a very long time, we had been having difficulty with volunteers for various presentation activities in the Sunday morning programs. Attendance was erratic and weekly donations were not covering the cost of room rental at the Brooks Beal Center where we met (we were only able to continue to pay the rent because of the donations from the February 2010 conference). In July 2010 I let the directors, council members, and participants know that I wished to step aside as a director, with this to be effective December 31, 2010, which is six months notice (I had promised that if I were to leave as a director, I would not do as others have done and walk off without notice).
I offered to remain as a council member if that was the wish of the directors at that time. I also explained that I intended to be available for speaking or any other of the Sunday volunteer activities such as inspirational readings or guiding meditations. I did this only after a very long time of asking Center council members and participants what their wishes were in relation to the nature of our programs, the appropriateness of our statement of purpose to their wishes, and our style of guiding the Center. These questions have been asked continuously during the more than three years of the Center's history, especially in the council meetings of April and July 2010. I felt that if I stepped aside, maybe others would come forward who wanted to share in service to the Center and its people, and that this might also bring out new ideas for the Center. I made a mistake and should have stayed with it until the end of December, not allowing the one director to change the Center for Nondualism in any way she wished.
In what initially appeared to be in the best interest of the Center for Nondualism and its participants I gave up control over the nearly $5,000 of accumulated donations. That money has now been appropriated by the new spinoff group. While I am requesting it be returned to the Center for Nondualism, I accept the likelihood that we will have to start over financially. The good news is that we will now use the facilities of Abhyasa Ashram and no rent will be charged for the Sunday morning meetings. Therefore, the Center for Nondualism will not need so much money. I admit feeling unsettled about this, however, in light of the fact that three of us have donated over $6000 in the past three years, including over $3000 that I have personally donated. The three annual conferences have raised substantial donations, including more than $5000 during the February 2010 third annual conference (our next conference, if there is one, will need to be significantly smaller due to the probable loss of the cash reserves).
Another mistake I made was giving total access to the newsletter which was managed through a Yahoo Group site, a benefit of which is that it allows people to freely subscribe and unsubscribe as they wish. The first thing that they did with the newsletter was to reduce me from being one of the owners of the site to merely a member, effectively removing my ability to use the Center newsletter, removing my communication with the participants of the Center. It appears they have now abandoned this newsletter site in favor of their secret newsletter. I am asking that they restore my access to the newsletter site. In the meantime I have started a new newsletter site which is at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/center-for-nondualism/
. You can subscribe at that site or simply send a blank email to email@example.com
. Alternatively, you can contact me and I will add your address directly.
Finally, I acknowledge that I have, in effect, given away the sound system which was purchased through the donations to our Center for Nondualism. I am asking that this be returned, while recognizing that it may not and that we may have to purchase a new system if we find one is needed.
The good news which I hope even slightly counterbalances the mistakes I have made is that access was not given to the website, the Facebook pages, or the Meetup.com page of the Center for Nondualism. These can be found at:
The only regular activity of the Center for Nondualism has been a Sunday morning program which has been publicly referred to as "a Sunday alternative" (in addition to the three annual conferences in February). The Sunday morning programs will continue, but with a new format that will evolve over time. Felicia McQuiad and I will continue to guide the Center for Nondualism as it moves forward in its new format. The next gathering of will be Sunday, November 7, 10:00-11:00am at Abhyasa Ashram, 505 Hooper Drive, Fort Walton Beach.
Exact dates, times, and details of other upcoming programs will be determined as a result of the November 7 gathering. Those will be published through the new newsletter, the Facebook pages, and the Meetup.com page. Please contact me if you have any comments or questions. Despite the recent problems, I sincerely look forward to the next phase of the evolution of the Center for Nondualism.
I understand that each person will decide where and with whom to spend his or her time. I look forward to seeing all of the people involved over these past three years wherever and whenever that may happen. I wish the people of the new organization "The Center" the very best and hope they feel similarly towards the people of the Center for Nondualism.
In loving service,
Center for Nondualism
c/o Abhyasa Ashram
505 Hooper Dr.
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548