VoM April 2015

Louis Wilde – Melrose

For most of my 20’s I had a twice daily meditation practice. Over 30 years after giving up that practice, I began meditating again using mindfulness techniques as taught by a student of Shinzen Young. A few years ago, I went to a talk and guided meditation by Shinzen at ATS on Melrose. I met George Haas that evening and subsequently began working with him as well as attending retreats, including the annual ATS fall retreats in Joshua Tree. I also began attending the 7 a.m. open sit at Melrose. Eventually, a timing conflict arose, so a friend and I asked if we could start a 6 a.m. open sit at Melrose. Hosting that sit, and now often staying on for the 7 a.m. sit, has become a key part of my practice and my life. I am deeply grateful to ATS, both for what it provides to the local spiritual community and for the opportunities it has given me to be of service. I have received far more than I have given.

Louis –

 Kassandra Karaitis – Santa Monica

I am truly grateful and completely surprised that I’m honored with being a volunteer of the month! I help clean the Center in Santa Monica, helped with some Admin duties, and help hosts for DayLongs and Workshops. I’ve just learned how to host, so, soon, I will be doing that, too.

I’ve never really felt very accepted, or safe, in any environment and never particularly loved by anyone, but, at ATS, I finally feel at home with myself, and with this superb sangha of incredibly loving dharma punx who continue to teach, love and accept me, exactly as I am. I’ve only been coming for less than a year, and, already, I feel myself growing and healing deep-seated wounds from childhood trauma I was never ready to accept, until now. I read a lot of books about meditation, when I started, years ago, and they mentioned needing to find a meditation teacher…being skeptical about everything, I’m glad I finally did. ATS provides me a safe space to practice. Life gets REALLY hard, sometimes, but, with the wonderful teachers, the sangha, and programs at ATS, I realize that in this huge world, with so many billions of people, I’m actually not alone.

Kassandra –