On-land Programs and COVID Safety Protocols. Learn More

Richard McPherson: Volunteer Profile


 I was aware of Spirit Rock long before I sat my first retreat, about 15 years ago. I started a Hindu meditation practice in the early 1970’s and continued with my mantra meditation when I attended my first Spirit Rock retreats.

I immediately noticed that I felt uplifted and joyful every time I was at Spirit Rock, a feeling that is still true today. I observed that I suffered less when on the property.

I began attending daylong programs on a regular basis and transitioned from my mantra meditation to mindfulness meditation to incorporate a more body-based awareness practice.

A couple of years ago, at my sitting group at East Bay Meditation Center, someone announced that a LGBT daylong was in need of volunteers to assist in exchange for the daylong fee. I immediately knew it was time to give it a try. It was a perfect fit for me— I could be helpful while deepening my practice.  Over the course of my time volunteering, I’ve found that my spiritual growth has expanded exponentially. Relating to large groups of people offers a beneficial experience for my usually introverted self.

When asked why I volunteer so much, my immediate response is, ‘It’s my practice.’  I schedule many volunteer days a couple of months in advance, which commits me to something that supports my growth. When the day comes, whether I am in the mood for it or not, I show up.  In showing up, I reap the benefits.  By frequently immersing myself in supportive environments and practices, I see a benefit to my life as a whole.  That was my initial hope when I first started volunteering.

Another benefit is the experience of working with Sean and Katie, the event staff. They are so well-organized and have their systems down to such a degree that the day almost runs itself. They also lend a nurturing, mindful atmosphere to our volunteer day.

I’m now at a point in my life that I recognize there is nowhere to go and nothing else to do except to go inside. It’s also about balance.  As a landscape architect, I have been extremely busy the past few years.  Volunteering offers a great diversion from the ongoing intensity of my six-day-a-week work mindset.

I look forward to volunteering at Spirit Rock for a long time to come.

To learn more about our volunteer program, please visit www.spiritrock.org/volunteer or contact our Volunteer and Community Coordinator at volunteering@spiritrock.org or (415) 488-0164 ext 224.


global faith & spiritual
climate action networ
Email Sign-Up