Interviews with Karuna Students: Margot Geist

Margot, a photographer from Albuquerque, NM is finishing up her third year as a Karuna Training student. She’s made her way through both the two-year cycle, and the graduate program, but Margot says that before starting with Karuna, she was actually dreading it.

I was never really fond of working with groups.”  Margot explains “So, I thought it would be a good vehicle to step into that. Melissa invited me and she said she thought it would be a really good thing for me to do on my path. I was intrigued by the potential for change… I had a sense that it was going to be an alchemical process.”

Margot says that after her first Karuna Training weekend she got “a glimpse into the possibility of the transformative process of Karuna; the transformative potential; the magic the of the teachings.”

“That’s what was intriguing and what I was curious about it. So I took the leap and I signed up. I would encourage anybody, everybody to do it.” She says enthusiastically. “It touches every corner of my life.”

Skillset For Meeting Personal Challenges

Margot says that Karuna Training helped her in surprising ways. “I think one thing that I didn’t realize I was looking for is how to be closer to myself and to be closer to each other.” she explains. “Everything we went through in Karuna Training, it points to that. It places you in a way that you can really do that.”

“It’s established a relationship to something larger than myself.” Margot goes on to say “And it’s useful. It’s providing me skillful means to see a glimpse of the world really deeply. It’s shown me to not be afraid of my first reactions to things. It’s given me freedom of my mind. Along the way, I learned to be easier on myself, to really see who I am … I feel like I spring back more easily from things that might take me off my center or off course. I feel even more relaxed and easier about things. ”

According to Margot, these skills have been especially helpful in recent times, after her mother received a diagnosis of terminal cancer. “I spent this last month with my mom, traversing all these medical appointments and all these doctors.” Margot recounts “There’s a lot of shock in how it’s came out of the blue…. But Karuna has opened the door to different ways of working with this news and with the doctors. It just allowed me more space to really be with this this diagnosis of terminal cancer and to be with her and my father.”

“I could just really hold the container of everything that was happening In those moments of these shocking discoveries and then also being able to have intelligent conversations with the doctors and think of the things that we might need to know. It gave me more space to really hold all these things that were happening.”

Connecting to the Creative Source of Art

Margot says that Karuna Training has also helped in her work as an artist. “It’s really helped to further develop my sense perception and to see everything as sacred.” she explains “It’s really opened up space. I don’t know if there’s really words to describe it. But it’s provided a much larger container for the upheaval. And then there are times when I’ll be talking to a client, and all of sudden I’ll notice that there’s more space there between us, that there’s more of a direct exchange of talking, of expressing.

She says that after Karunan training, she can get out of her own way a little more, when it comes to her own art, and she feels more connected to the creative source.

“I feel like Karuna has really has opened the door for me to different ways of experiencing the world. And it’s constantly refining my sense perceptions. And there’s a mystery of life that Karuna touches into and allows me to be closer to myself and to other people and the phenomenal world.”

Her recent gallery show Exchange Between You and Me played with this sense of connection between the artist and the viewer. “Speaking through the art to people,” she says “it allows them to look at the art and to see the brilliant sanity in the art; and to allow all the people who came to the show to do that for themselves. So it was a very powerful experience.”

Social Transformation

When asked what advice she would give to people considering the program, Margot confidently says “Just do it!” and then clarifies “So, I’m talking to a lot of people (about Karuna Training) and somebody said just last night ‘You know, I’m thinking about it, but I’m so afraid of groups.’  I said to her  ‘Well I’ve had a lot of apprehension about the being in group, but being two or three years later, it’s really transformed that.’”

“I knew that what was arising in me, my hesitation, was exactly the same thing I was going to face in Karuna.” Margot recalls  “And that’s what was transformed. I didn’t know that it would be transformed, I just knew I was going to be facing it. I think Karuna provides a container for these kinds of transformations. That was my experience.”