by Reba Capers
Reba handles all our communications with booking our teachers and making the arrangements leading up to their event with us.
I have been practicing meditation since the early 1990s. Like most people, my practice has not always been consistent – I didn’t meditate at all for 6 months after Hurricane Katrina – but I have always returned to it, and it has always been the key element of my spiritual life.
I attended my first Flowering Lotus retreat around 2010-2011, in the very early years when residential weekend retreats were held in the beautiful buildings in Magnolia, Mississippi. I was immediately drawn to the spirit of the place – uplifting and calm – and to its mission: offering meditation retreat opportunities and dharma instructions by some of the best teachers in Western Buddhism, in the Deep South. And my meditation practice was immediately enhanced by the retreat experience. The immersive experience of a weekend in silence, long periods of meditation, immense learning from wise and gifted teachers, in an atmosphere that encourages contemplation – all of this renewed my energy for meditation practice, inspired my reading and study of spiritual and dharma texts, and generally strengthened my commitment to the spiritual path.
From those days until today, Flowering Lotus retreats have served my practice and my spiritual life in that way. The years 2018-2020 have been a period of immense change: I left the Board for a while. When our founder retired, Flowering Lotus Meditation became a “Moveable Sangha”. The board invited me to rejoin the Board and we continued to host retreats in several locations across Mississippi and Louisiana; and now the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted our format from residential, in-person gatherings to “virtual” on-line retreats attended from our homes.
Through all of those changes and transitions, for me, Flowering Lotus has continued to be the same source of inspiration, centering, and spiritual growth that I first encountered in the original setting in Magnolia.
Now, as then, I serve on the Flowering Lotus Board and I offer whatever talents and financial support I can to keep it alive and thriving as a way of “giving back” to the entity that has given me so much. It is a way to serve others, helping to keep this valuable jewel available to the world. It’s a way to make merit (puñña), which is the Buddhist way to develop a wise sense of self.