Christiane Wolf, Joslyn Hitter, Martin Vitorino and I just returned from the InsightLA fall meditation retreat in Lucerne Valley. There, the windswept mountains are strewn across a vast valley under the towering blue sky. The ridges and mesa seem impossibly desolate at first glance – lunar, stark, bleak. It takes time to see the beauty that is everywhere here. Lacey dark red tumbleweeds skip in the gusting wind, bare creosote branches glow lavender-grey, long-eared jackrabbits jump from bush to cactus like miniature kangaroos.
In retreat, we traverse forsaken, abandoned regions of our minds, bodies, hearts. Just as it takes time to appreciate the bare splendor of this desert land, it takes patient, mindful practice through hours and days and years of willingness to be present with whatever arises for us to discover the awe-inspiring landscape of our own being — to see what’s already here, ready to unfurl in the light of our steady, loving awareness.
We are committed to provide space for the teachings wherever we can. With the sad, unfortunate closure of Against The Stream, the East Side neighborhood lost an important refuge. The landlord planned to turn the Melrose center into a restaurant before he decided to rent it to InsightLA. While maintaining our presence on the West Side, we are humbled to assume this new responsibility — and provide some continuity for the ATS community, too. I’m glad the neighborhood won’t be a dharma desert! and look forward to welcoming you all to our new center in November.