Richard McPherson: Volunteer Profile
I was aware of Spirit Rock long before I sat my first retreat, about 15 years ago. I started a Hindu meditation practice in the early 1970’s and continued with my mantra meditation when I attended my first Spirit Rock retreats.
I immediately noticed that I felt uplifted and joyful every time I was at Spirit Rock, a feeling that is still true today. I observed that I suffered less when on the property.
I began attending daylong programs on a regular basis and transitioned from my mantra meditation to mindfulness meditation to incorporate a more body-based awareness practice.
A couple of years ago, at my sitting group at East Bay Meditation Center, someone announced that a LGBT daylong was in need of volunteers to assist in exchange for the daylong fee. I immediately knew it was time to give it a try. It was a perfect fit for me— I could be helpful while deepening my practice. Over the course of my time volunteering, I’ve found that my spiritual growth has expanded exponentially. Relating to large groups of people offers a beneficial experience for my usually introverted self.
When asked why I volunteer so much, my immediate response is, ‘It’s my practice.’ I schedule many volunteer days a couple of months in advance, which commits me to something that supports my growth. When the day comes, whether I am in the mood for it or not, I show up. In showing up, I reap the benefits. By frequently immersing myself in supportive environments and practices, I see a benefit to my life as a whole. That was my initial hope when I first started volunteering.
Another benefit is the experience of working with Sean and Katie, the event staff. They are so well-organized and have their systems down to such a degree that the day almost runs itself. They also lend a nurturing, mindful atmosphere to our volunteer day.
I’m now at a point in my life that I recognize there is nowhere to go and nothing else to do except to go inside. It’s also about balance. As a landscape architect, I have been extremely busy the past few years. Volunteering offers a great diversion from the ongoing intensity of my six-day-a-week work mindset.
I look forward to volunteering at Spirit Rock for a long time to come.
To learn more about our volunteer program, please visit www.spiritrock.org/volunteer or contact our Volunteer and Community Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 488-0164 ext 224.
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