This is special time of year for me, Celeste Young. When I was 17 I found the Dharma, and I often joke that because of my inner and outer turmoil and suffering I was highly motivated to practice.
The truth is that's not a joke at all. There's a Buddhist phrase "practice like your hair's on fire."This expresses a sense of spiritual urgency. I related to this very much, and for me it was like my heart was on fire.
The Dharma was truly my life, my path. I didn't feel I had a choice. Ten years ago I moved to LA on a whim and met Trudy Goodman and found InsightLA.org before we had a center. It was a very different time for meditation in Los Angeles, and I marvel at how things have grown.
I have been teaching mindfulness and the Dharma since 2011 when Trudy heard me give a 10 minute dana talk (a talk requesting support for the center and teachings) at the end of one of her evening teachings.
She pulled me aside afterwards and asked me to join her first teaching cohort at InsightLA. Later on, I was honored to begin subbing for her Sunday mornings when she was away.
That year a few of my senior colleagues were given teacher authorization in the Theravada tradition in a beautiful ceremony with Trudy, Sharon Salzberg, and Jack Kornfield. Then one year ago, several of my colleagues and I at InsightLA were given our own powerful teacher authorization ceremony with Trudy and Jack.
We also celebrated friends and colleagues who had graduated from the Spirit Rock Retreat Teacher Training and three others dear to me who are in the current training cohort with Dharma friends and colleagues I've practiced with for many years.
This past Tuesday was the Buddhist holiday called Vesak, honoring the Buddha's birth, enlightenment, and passing into final nirvana. It was also the one-year anniversary of my teaching authorization.
I want to share my gratitude for the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, and for all my teachers. The transformation of my heart and mind is beyond words I am able to express here.
I feel fortunate to live aligned with what matters so deeply to me and to share it with people. My only wish is to be able to pass on a fraction of what I've received. -- Love, Celeste