An Interview With Omega's Board Chair | Omega

As a nonprofit organization, Omega is governed by a board of directors. Board chair David Orlinsky speaks to Omega about his connection to the organization, his mindfulness practice, and his vision for Omega’s future.

Omega: What first drew you to Omega and when was that?

David: I was always looking for deeper answers to life's questions. One day many years ago I was walking along Broadway in Manhattan when I saw a sign announcing a conference going on in a hotel I was passing by. The conference was being offered by Omega, which I’d not heard of until then. I went in and picked up a brochure. Then out of the blue I signed up and took a dance workshop with Gabrielle Roth. I’ve been connected to Omega ever since.

Omega: When you first got involved with Omega, did you think that you would still be connected to Omega today?

David: No, I didn’t. When I joined the board of Omega in 2001, I figured I’d be a member for five or six years, and then I would move on. But it’s now been 13 years and, God willing, it looks like it will be at least 20 years.

Omega: What has made you stay?

David: Sometimes in life you just feel that the universe has set things up so that your skill sets are needed at particular time and place. You feel you are actually called to do something, and this is how being on the board at Omega feels for me.

Omega: How did you find the world of meditation and mindfulness?

David: I was 29 years old, maybe 30, when I read the book In Search of the Miraculous, which is about the work of G.I. Gurdjieff. After reading that, I started attending classes. At about the same time, a Transcendental Meditation center opened on Riverside Drive and 72nd Street. I lived nearby on West End and 72nd Street. I went in one day and learned how to meditate there.

Omega: You worked at a law firm. Did you let any of your colleagues know what you were doing in your off hours?

David: Never. At that time, they would not have had the faintest clue about what I was doing, or why.

Omega: Has your practice changed over the years? If so, how?

David: Yes, it has changed. My practice had gone from a formal meditation practice and attending meetings three times a week and coming home and meditating every day, to developing a mindfulness practice that, for the most part, did not include formal sitting on a cushion. Then about a year ago, for reasons I do not understand and probably never will, I started sitting on the cushion again. Now I have pretty much a daily meditation practice. I do a 20- to 30-minute sit first thing every morning.

Omega: What do you tell people who say they want to practice but can’t find the time?

David: I tell them that life is a conversation and that their priorities determine what their conversations are.

Omega: Omega has been at the forefront of the spiritual, psychological, environmental awareness movements since its founding almost 40 years ago in 1977. How can Omega continue to be at the forefront of these areas and reach the greatest number of people at the same time?

David: It’s a very interesting conversation. Does the mission of Omega require meeting more and more people all the time, or does the mission require us to develop deeper relationships with the people who are already in our orbit? One is not better than the other, and both are important.

Omega understands the arena in which we play, and we know how to deliver courses that encourage people to change their conversation about life.

What we need to do now is follow our heart, keep ourself open, and give the world a chance to support everything we do together.

© 2014 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies

Discover More