History and Board

Founded in 1993, the Helen & Stuart Over, M.D. Center for Holistic Living, a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt, publicly-supported, educational organization is operated entirely by volunteers. No one receives a salary.

Since its inception, Ligia Dantes has been the spiritual director. The influence of her personal integrity, her deep insights, and her emphasis on inquiry, dialogue, neutral observation and personal responsibility will be readily apparent in the approach of our new website. Her own writing is available here. One of her most significant influences has been her resolute unwillingness, throughout her public life to become a guru or authority, and her welcoming of many other voices and points of view into the process of dialogue. This kind of humility and openness has been an inspiration for this new website. So, though we will feature Ms. Dantes’ work, our new website will bring many other thoughtful voices to the process of inquiry.

For over 20 years, Ms. Dantes and the Center for Holistic Living operated a retreat house on the California Central Coast. No religious or philosophical point of view was promoted. Retreats were based on meditation, reflection, silence and inquiry. She would see people individually and in groups facilitating their inquiry into spiritual unfolding, however they experienced it. During that time, we learned that people from all walks of life, regardless of whether they practiced a religion or not, derived great benefit from what we are now calling The Modern Reflective Life. Taking time out of busy lives and remaining quiet and meditative, even if just for a weekend, brought insights, sometimes life-changing, to people on how to live a more meaningful life. One of our main objectives is to encourage “The Modern Reflective Life” to all who visit here, to offer relief from harried, stressful lives. Understanding that the vast majority of people will never be able to follow a lay monastic lifestyle as we did at our retreat house, we hope to present a way for others to bring the vitality, tranquility and insight of a monastic/reflective lifestyle into their daily living.

Primarily, but not exclusively, we seek to serve the spiritually unaffiliated, many of whom regard themselves as “Spiritual But Not Religious”, a widely diverse group of people who look to find meaning and purpose in life from many different points of view. That being said, this website is in no way adverse to organized religion and will include progressive religious voices who, without obviously promoting a specific religion or philosophy, offer insight into the spiritual experience and/or thoughtful guidance in living an ethical and compassionate life.

Board of Directors

Philip Gill
Lynne Thurston
Dennis Harrold
Ann Dobroth