Program Details

Queer Dharma: Emptiness - The Wisdom of Nothing to Count On


with Michaela McCormick
July 6 / 2:00 PM - July 6 / 4:00 PM

We are constantly playing the “me” game – arranging every day to get our personal desires and needs met. Out of hope or fear, we grasp at affirmation, security, pleasure, love, and ultimately staying alive. As long as we are grasping for a new moment or lifetime of pleasure, we are suffering or setting ourselves up to suffer. Pleasure always leads to pain. But pain, too, doesn't last. It's hard to find anything we can count on, including the “self” we call “me.” So what can we count on? Basic goodness, the wisdom that is the emptiness of the “self.” To experience that, we need to pay close attention and let ourselves feel, to experience ourselves and the world directly without concept, interpretation, or the deeper philosophical meaning we seem to be always looking for. Real wisdom is simply the ability to stay nimble enough to respond to the world as it unfolds. We need to get comfortable with space, the openness that allows confusion to lead to wisdom. When we do, we let go of the territory of “me,” and connect with others. We empathize, feel compassion, and recognize our interdependence.

Michaela McCormick has been meditating for 12 years and has been a student of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche since 2005. She is Director of Practice and Education for the Portland Shambhala Meditation Center, a meditation instructor, and a member of the Diversity Working Group of Shambhala International. For 25 years she worked as a teacher, trainer, and practitioner of conflict resolution and public dialogue. For longer than that she was a community organizer/activist. She now writes on social and spiritual themes.


Queer Dharma is a group for LGBTQ practitioners to study and practice meditation and Dharma and to discuss personal experiences.  The group serves to send a message to new-comers that they are welcome in our tradition and to explore (perhaps in ways that may be unintentionally overlooked or excluded in our regular programming) how we as gays, lesbians, bisexuals, trans and gender queer individuals can incorporate the teachings in our everyday lives and in our various social circles.


We’re scheduled to meet every first Sunday of the month 2-4pm.  Meditation instruction is available to you.  It’s a free event with suggested donation of any dollar amount.  Continue to socialize over dinner and drinks at Crush afterward.  All are warmly welcome regardless of experience, spiritual tradition, age, gender or sexual identity.  See you there!


For more information, contact Jason Bray, Queer Dharma Coordinator.


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