Neil: Finding Real Refuge in the Face of Adversity

January 23, 2019

Earlier in life, I had been very materialistic – all about the right partner, the right cars, the right neighborhood, the right friends. I had a party-till-you-drop mindset. Never did I conceive of myself as someone going down a spiritual path, or that this spiritual community would become my life.

In November of 2008, my partner died. We’d just been married a few months earlier. I was absolutely lost. I didn’t know what to do, where to go, or who to turn to. I tried a variety of things, including grief counseling. Then I remembered the Kadampa Center in Los Angeles, which I had visited occasionally over the years. I Googled it in December and showed up in January, which happened to be their retreat month. I was on grief leave from work and had no place to go so I joined the retreat. It became the place I’d go from 7:30 in the morning to 9:00 at night every day of the week.

I can’t say I really knew anything after that month of retreat. I was in a complete haze. But I kept going back to the Center because it felt like a safe place. Looking back, I can now see that what I had found was refuge.

I retired in early 2016 and moved from California to NYC to be part of the Kadampa community here full-time – to be of service to the Center, and to do whatever needs to be done to live inside of the practice.

After my partner died I had thought to myself “I’ll never be happy again.” Now I find myself thinking “I never have to be unhappy again.”

That’s the power of Dharma.

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