Peace in the Old Pueblo: Meditation center welcomes all

ONLY ON KOLD: Peace in the Old Pueblo

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - Sometimes life gets the best of us - but when it takes over, how do you handle it?

One place here in Tucson has an idea.

At the Kadampa Meditation Center, Gen Kelsang Lingpur treats each day as a gift where all life matters.

"Everybody has a tendency to think, you know, the world is just about us," explained Gen Lingpur as she sifted through traps she set for termites. She didn't want to see them exterminated; so she tried to find a way to get them out of the building, while keeping them alive.

Just as Gen Lingpur helps even the tiniest of creatures live on - she does the same for people at the Kadampa Meditation Center.

Traffic bustles outside of the meditation center. It’s a stark contrast to the quiet atmosphere found within.

This sacred place is meant to bring a person peace of mind.

"Right now we're getting more people coming all the time because times seem more turbulent. It comes up a lot in our classes about what to do with your mind during all this turmoil," explained Gen Lingpur.

The center is labeled as a 'Buddhist Meditation Center,' but welcomes all people - no matter the religion.

It's drawn in people like Jolanta Sierra, a Tucson transplant, who was on the search for an escape.

"It feels like the world is spinning at a much faster speed than when I was younger," said Sierra. "When I lived in Los Angeles, that was dealing everyday with stress and anxiety. Traffic, people, everything else."

She's been in Tucson for four years and found some stresses don't change, but the way you manage them can.

Sierra often attends a meditation class over her lunch hour.

"I am not a Buddhist. I come here just to gain some spirituality which is not necessarily geared to any religion," Sierra explained. She told us how she feels when she leaves,"Ready to deal with anything that comes my way."

Gen Lingpur wants people to leave her meditation feeling that way.

They're feelings she knows after she overcame some of life's biggest difficulties.

"I was diagnosed with terminal cancer and at the time I started questioning what was the meaning of life? What's the point?," Gen Lingpur said.

At the time, Gen Lingpur started searching for answers to those questions. Her research on death brought her to Buddhism.

She beat cancer in 1996 and left her life as a businesswoman for something simpler.

"I got out of that job, which I loved but was very high stress. I got out of a relationship that wasn't going anywhere. I decided the only thing that was worthwhile in life were the things you did to help others," Gen Lingpur said.

Gen Lingpur is two decades into remission and away from an impatient mind.

"If I can change my mind on that one, I can change my mind on all kinds of things," she explained.

A testament for all - she said no matter the size of the problem; any one can overcome the stresses of everyday life.

Gen Lingpur is also helping to open a giant meditation center near the Grand Canyon. It will be one of the biggest centers in the world. It is set to open in the fall.

More information on the Kadampa Meditation Center can be found on their website, https://www.meditationintucson.org/.

The center is located at 5326 E. Pima Street on Tucson’s east side.

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