Thursday, October 11, 2007

the dream

I have a dream, a dream of a meditation retreat center located in a wood on a scenic mountain ridge in the Commonwealth of Virginia. My dream is a peaceful sanctuary filled with beautiful gardens, labyrinths, mandalas, trickling fountains, wooded walking trails, and quiet oases; I dream of a place of refuge, a place of tranquility, a place of prayer, a place of healing.

I dream of a place called Spirit First.

Spirit First is a meditation retreat center that embraces every discipline, every faith in its devotion to meditation and mindfulness, in its dedication to prayer and the inner life, in its commitment to peace and tranquility. Spirit First is a place of inclusion devoted to honoring our spiritual paths.

Those who come to Spirit First do so to meditate or to study, to think or to reflect, to write or to ponder and do it in a quiet place. Sometimes, though, we gather at Spirit First as a group to meditate or practice yoga, hear a master deliver a message, join a gathering of Sufis in dance. Sometimes we have guest leaders from the spiritual community such as Sharon Salzberg, Thich Nhat Hanh, Sai Maa, Zuleikha, Coleman Barks, Naomi Shihab Nye, Christine Kane, and many, many others.

In the beginning I asked myself the question, "How dare I dream a dream this big? Who do I think I am to dream thus?" Then I looked around me at the universe in all its wealth and I began to realize that with the abundance of the earth that sustains me and the beauty of all that inspires me, the more perfect question would be to ask, "How dare I not dream a dream this big? Who do I think I am to live my life and not work to make a dream like this come true?"

And so, with much courage and equal amounts of humility, gratitude, and trust, I begin the opening steps of bringing Spirit First into physical form. I honor the dream born in me.

photography by permission

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