The seed for the birthing of The Urban Ashram was born during my first Vipassana intensive. I was going through a rough period in my life where everything I was doing suddenly seemed empty and meaningless. A particular series of unanticipated events had somehow managed to bring my life to a standstill, leaving me in a sort of mental paralysis. It was around that time I started visiting two spaces near my university in Chicago. The first space was Transitions, a community centre with a café, a bookstore, studios for healing workshops, and other amenities. The other one was Moksha, a yoga studio that offered yoga classes, and workshops throughout the day.
The Gift Economy Modelwould like to say something about the emerging gift-economy model. Our forefathers planted the banyan trees whose shade we enjoy and the fruits we enjoy in our gardens today. Many of the things that we take for granted today are the fruit of the hard work and kindness of people who walked before us. For example, the free India that we breathe in took the sacrifice and hard work of millions of satyagrahis.
Inspired by that vision we’ve conceived of a gift-economy model – a pay-it-forward of sorts – where you do good to another without expecting anything back in return. The only request made is that the favour is paid forward. That way the well-intentioned act becomes a transforming power, not a transaction of give and take. Some existing business models of the gift economy are:
• Vipassana model
We gather to celebrate like a family, at the end of which you may drop in any amount that your heart desires. Therefore, instead of giving from your pocket, we encourage you to share from your heart!
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