It is the mission of Long Beach Meditation to offer a welcoming space for all to learn the healing arts of meditation and mindfulness. We practice the profound teachings that align with the Buddha’s path to awakening.
Our vision is that by 2019, Long Beach Meditation will offer classes five days a week in order to increase levels of peace, well-being, and compassion for hundreds of people that live, work, and visit in the Greater Long Beach community. We gather feedback about our programs to ensure that they are meaningful and valuable to our guests. We are dedicated to teaching and promoting meditation, the Dharma, and mindfulness practice, while emphasizing unity, diversity, and creating a space for community.
We are peaceful.
We are accessible - classes and programs are affordable or free and available to everyone.
We are mindful - we strive to live the teachings in all interactions and in our engagement with the world.
We are diverse - our staff, board, guests, and community reflects the diversity of thought, demographics, race, and background of our broader community.
We are compassionate.
We are transparent - we rely on the generosity of our sponsors and donors for funds to make classes and programs available to those who cannot afford them.
We are inclusive - we welcome everyone without exception and work to create a community of welcoming kindness.
We are community-oriented - our impact reaches beyond our programs through community engagement strategies that improves our neighborhood.
Dr. Victor Byrd is the founder of Long Beach Meditation and author of The Bare Bones of the Buddha’s Teaching. He has worked as a Marriage and Family Therapist in Long Beach, California for over 30 years.
In the late 1970’s, long before it was a household word in the United States, Victor traveled to India in order to study yoga. He taught yoga at the United Nations in New York and at the Integral Yoga Institute.
In 1984 Victor began an analysis with Edward C. Whitmont, an internationally acclaimed Jungian analyst. This work, based primarily on dream interpretation is what Victor calls “the crucial mid-course correction in my life.” From his work with Dr. Whitmont, “the most wise human I ever knew,” Victor began the journey of meditation.
Beginning in the early 1980’s, Victor tenuously began to practice meditation at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts: first with short weekend retreats, later expanding them to 10-day meditation retreats. Victor was inspired by the amazing Ruth Denison and sat with her at her center in the winter of 1987 in Joshua Tree, California, as well as in Hawaii. In 1988 after finishing his work with Dr. Whitmont, Victor sublet his apartment in New York City and remained at Insight Meditation Society for the following three years, learning from most of the teachers there, especially Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Saltsberg, Michele McDonald, and Sayadaw U Pandita.
A powerful dream told Dr. Byrd that it was time to leave Barre and reenter the world. He soon moved to California and began the Master’s program at Pacifica Graduate Institute. In 1992, while interning at Family Service of Long Beach, he started a small meditation group as part of his Master’s thesis titled, “Meditation as an Adjunct in Psychotherapy.” This small group of meditators became the seed that eventually sprouted into Long Beach Meditation.
Victor continued to sit with wonderful teachers - most notably with Shinzen Young in the 1990’s and with U Vivekananda in Lumbini, Nepal.
Although, as a therapist and teacher, Victor maintained strong boundaries between the healing work of psychotherapy and meditation, the interface of these two traditions (what he calls the “growing up” and the “getting well” paths) have been the focus of Dr. Byrd’s teaching for the past 25 years.
Dr. Byrd: “My life has been immeasurably touched and transformed by the wisdom of great beings: from the Buddha to Jung, from Jesus to Nisargadatta and Krishnamurti, including poets such as T.S. Eliot and Emily Dickinson. Offering a measure of their wisdom to the Long Beach Meditation sangha has been my passion and vision for its future."