A Shambhala-inspired practice environment
in the South Toe River Valley of North Carolina

Sawrie Carroll-WuestNovember 2015, my dear and delightful friend, Sawrie Carroll-Wuest passed away at the age of 72. Over the course of our thirteen-year friendship, Sawrie became my “dharma grandmother,” kindly encouraging my Buddhist studies and modeling the life of an open-hearted, compassionate human being. At her passing, I was bequeathed many books from her dharma library, as well as traditional Tibetan and Shambhala shrine items. This coincided with the purchase of my first home, in which I had already decided to create a separate meditation space. Drawing from the spirit of Sawrie’s generosity, I decided that if I was going to create a shrine room for myself and my husband, it made no sense to keep that room strictly for ourselves.

Fall of 2016, we will open our doors as Riverway Meditation Group, a Shambhala-inspired practice environment designed to serve the needs of meditators in the South Toe River Valley of Western North Carolina. While many enriching, long-standing meditation centers are within a 30-90 minute drive from Riverway, like me, those members of Riverway Meditation Group are hesitant to leave the valley at the end of the work day. We long for a community of meditators, but want to skip the commute.

Riverway is not an official Shambhala center, but it draws deeply from the Shambhala practice structures, shrine decorum, and teachings, and may one day seek formal status as a “center.” Shambhala is best described as a global community of people inspired by the principle that every human being has a fundamental nature of basic goodness. This nature, our innate wisdom, can be developed so that it benefits our own lives and helps meet the many challenges facing the world. The website describes it as “a lab for a living culture—a community that explores the possibility of creating a good human society.”

I believe that can happen anywhere; maybe even in my own backyard.

For more information about Riverway (calendar of events and hosted meditation opportunities) or to be added to our local email list, please contact me.

South Toe River Valley, facing the Black Mountains in North Carolina.