Giedra Gershman: Volunteer Profile
In 1993 a close friend took one of James Baraz's beginning meditation classes. She thought I'd find it interesting and invited me to come to the next meeting. I wasn't seeking anything, but I easily connected with James's gentle way and intuitively knew the truth of what he said. When the class ended, James suggested many resources for continuing to learn about Buddhism and its practices - Spirit Rock was among them. I didn't know it then, but I had found my spiritual home. Gradually, during summer vacations, I began to drop in to the weekly classes and attend a variety of daylongs. I attended my first retreat in 2003. I then read about Kalyana Mitta (KM) in the Spirit Rock News and in 2005 found a KM group listed on the Spirit Rock website that met near my home.
I began volunteering regularly at Spirit Rock when I retired from teaching. I was already increasingly committed to the path and I wanted a supportive environment in which to integrate practice into daily life and a work type situation. For several years I volunteered on Wednesdays—at first in the retreat office, and then in the front office. I'd attend Sylvia's morning class and then volunteer. It gave me a day of Dharma and practice at Spirit Rock and a beautiful drive from the East Bay.
I now volunteer in support of the Kalyana Mitta program. My three KM groups have been invaluable in deepening my practice and I wanted to help others connect with a similar experience. The small groups have helped me find my own voice to talk about the Dharma and to share my experiences, applying the readings and teachings in the midst of life. My KM groups have been a safe container and a refuge. Sharing with others has opened my heart and broadened my understandings.
As a volunteer I've learned that Spirit Rock staff and programs change, but the core values, the vision, remains strong and deeply rooted. There is a coherence and thoughtfulness that can be seen and felt in the smallest details. Volunteering with Spirit Rock is an opportunity to express my deep gratitude for the teachings. It allows me to be an active participant in the continuation of the Dharma and to use my skills to support that which has so generously supported me.
To learn more about our volunteer program, please visit www.spiritrock.org/volunteer or contact our Volunteer and Community Coordinator at email@example.com or (415) 488-0164 ext 224.