VoM April 2014
Against the Stream teacher JoAnna Harper introduced me to Noah’s work years ago. I had been in and out of a practice for years, never committing to a daily practice. In 2011, I was suddenly sober and separated from my partner, feeling as if there was nowhere to go and nothing to hold onto. Traditional 12 step programs helped me to find sobriety and Against the Stream is where my recovery lives, vital and alive, ongoing and with filled with endless possibility.
Refuge Recovery has given me a home to feel safe and at ease. Connect and Sustain has given me a witness and the love and acceptance to grow again. Community sits and daylong retreats have given me a sense of kinship and extended family when I need it the most. By volunteering for events and classes, I am setting the intention to be an active member of our society. This is a large part of my generosity practice. I am grateful for the opportunity to practice with such a fine community and thoughtful teachers. I am convinced that taking refuge in the three jewels is the path to the end of suffering and that by volunteering I am taking refuge, and that action, in turn, radiates outward to all beings, everywhere. Plus it just feels good!
I started to come to ATS about 5 ½ years ago. I was going through a tragic break up and couldn’t see past the pain anchored in my chest. A really good friend (Micah) dragged me out of my dungeon to Melrose. From the beginning of my recovery experience I began pouring through the Buddhists section at Borders. I knew I had found my home; I felt like a drop of water returning to the ocean. I spent about 4 years making the trip down from Riverside a couple of times a week until last June when I finally created the opportunity to move down to the Westside.
I currently host the Thursday night Refuge Recovery in Santa Monica. I try to get involved with any and all of the community activities that my schedule allows. I’ve participated in the spring cleanings, neighborhood clean ups, sandwich project, the holiday gift giving project, and then more recently the Amazing Dharma Race upcoming in May.
Thank you to ATS and the Sangha! I feel so fortunate to be a part of this community! I look forward to continuing my practice and service.
Kristen Borges – San Francisco
I’ve been dabbling in meditation forever — or at least for the last couple decades. Living in SF there are a gazillion and fifty places one can go to explore such things, but exploring is as far as I ever got. Meditation never felt like the right thing for me; I could not sit still, and I could not make the brain shut up. I thought I needed active things to quiet the brain, that only inherently less anxious people could meditate. It wasn’t until a friend dragged me to dharma punx that I actually heard a meditation instruction hint that we are not, in meditation, trying to get the brain to shut up. Holy shit! You mean I don’t need to beat myself up for sucking at this? A whole new experience of meditation opened up. On top of that, the teacher’s talk hit me in the gut and in the heart in a way that no other dharma talk ever had. It felt real. So I kept going back.
It took me a while to get how important the whole “sangha” part of things was. Initially, I volunteered to manage the email list for selfish reason, mainly as a way (in the absence of any degree of self-discipline) to strengthen my commitment to show up weekly. Well, it turns out my self discipline still sucks, and that commitment to the weekly sits waxes and wanes quite a bit. But I find that giving time to the sangha in the form of service is its own way of showing up, and it’s not just for me that I do it these days.