Meet Chanel, Lisa, and Mira three YAs from the greater Bay Area in San Francisco. To create spiritual fellowship and get in some spiritual reading, they've been using a book club format to systematically read Easwaran books.
About a year ago we decided that we wanted more satsang with our fellow YAs, and decided to start a book club reading Easwaran books (why not combine spiritual fellowship and spiritual reading!). We knew each other fairly well from attending YA retreats together and figured it'd be a fun way to hang out more. Thus was born the B.F.F. (Books For Friends) Book Club.
We coordinated the beginning via email, deciding to choose a book none of us had read, The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita. We set some parameters, meeting by phone once or twice a month pending our schedules and trying for some in-person meetings whenever we could coordinate our geography. It took us a few weeks to each get our copies of the book, and read the first chapter, and figure out how to coordinate schedules, but in mid-September we finally held our first BFF Book Club phone call.
Although we didn’t discuss a format ahead of time, by the second or third phone call we had a pretty regular setup. We would read 1-2 chapters between each meeting, each taking notes, highlighting text we liked, and writing down any questions. We’d start each call by just going through the pages in order, each person sharing parts that stuck out to them, or raising topics of interest. It was great to hear how the book resonated with each person and how we each implement Easwaran’s teachings in our day-to-day life.
We continued keeping it really informal and low pressure. Some weeks we would have lots to talk about and other weeks, the call would be brief. At some points we were meeting regularly every two weeks, and sometimes a month (or more...) would go by before we met. We even managed to meet a couple of times in person!
After nine months, we finished the book just this past week, celebrating with a book club party in San Francisco! We went out to eat, and had our final book club meeting on the beach discussing the last two chapters of the book. Of course now that we’re done it’s time to move on to the next book, and once we all get copies of The Essence of the Dhammapada, the BFF Book Club will be back in business. We’ve even set some goals for our next book club round. At each meeting we’re each going to choose a point to be focusing on until the next meeting, we won’t have to “report” on our success, but just see it as a way to help be more systematic about our spiritual practice.
It’s been really meaningful for us to have a chance to share our spiritual practice with other YAs and have a chance to have deep spiritual discussion right next to some YA small talk. We encourage you all to start your own franchise of the BFF Book Club - all you need is a few friends, and a book! We know that you may not have other YAs in your life who are meditators and so we also enthusiastically recommend the YA eSatsang which is a great resource for fellowship in an electronic format. They even hold optional phone calls every few months and read an Easwaran text together. Happy reading!