By Carol Jones
Have you been wondering what goes on at that beautiful, big white mansion at 3500 W. Adams (just west of Arlington) and what in the world is a labyrinth? Welcome to the headquarters of the Church of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness and Peace Theological Seminary & College of Philosophy MSIA/PTS. Lots of long names, lots of spiritual focus, lots of fun and joy.
The mansion is a City of Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Monument, built for Secundo and Louisa Guasti, who emigrated to the United States from Italy, amassing a fortune in the California wine business. The Guasti label emanated from the Guasti vineyards which became the largest winery in the world at the turn of the 20th Century right here in Southern California. The mansion was designed by prominent architects, Hudson and Munsell, and took four years to construct, with materials from all over the world and artisans imported from Italy.
In the mid-thirties, the property was sold to Busby Berkeley, the famous Hollywood director and choreographer who lived there for about a decade with his mother and a succession of wives. After that, it became a boarding house for budding actresses and then a home for unwed mothers until the Physicians’ Aid Society bought it in the early 50’s and used it as a retirement home for doctors and their wives. In 1974, MSIA/PTS bought the property and have been remarkable stewards of this oasis in the middle of LA for the past 35 years. John-Roger, Founder and Spiritual Advisor, John Morton, Spiritual Director, and the MSIA Presidency, all agreed that since it needed to be retrofitted in order for it to be used, it should also be restored to its original grandeur and every inch of the exterior and interior of the mansion was painstakingly cleaned, polished, inpainted, repaired, and refurbished by professionals in the field. Under construction for eight years, this masterpiece in preservation stands as a monument for all of Los Angeles to enjoy. Many thanks go to West Adams’ very own the late Martin Weil for his consultation and contribution to the project. Visitors are welcome through the week. MSIA (for short) focuses on Soul Transcendence—knowing ourselves as one with God, not just as a theory, but as a practical, everyday reality. And the seminary is devoted to providing classes, workshops, and what we call Spiritual Spa Days, all geared toward giving folks an experience of the universal teachings of the Spiritual Heart in a gentle, loving, focused atmosphere. Anyone can attend. We love opening our doors to our neighbors.
The outdoor, hand-cut travertine marble labyrinth, one of many tools for spiritual awakening, is open to the public as well as the beautiful gardens. A slow walk to the middle of the labyrinth has a calming and healing effect with a noticeable sense of spiritual renewal. It can bring peace of mind, liberation from old habits that no longer serve us, and the joy of just being with ourselves in an active, moving meditation. The gardens close to the mansion complement the Italian Renaissance architecture while the meditation garden, the secluded area farthest from the house, is Asian-inspired. We hear from visitors that spending time in these peaceful and awesome gardens often transports them to reflect on their higher nature, indeed to experience themselves as one with God.
Come to a Spiritual Spa Day, or a workshop on abundance and prosperity. We are open for free tours Tuesday through Friday and Labyrinth walking 11-3 pm and Sunday 12-4. Visit http://www.peacelabyrinth.org or call us at (323) 737-4055 for more information on how you can bask in the beauty of nature, free up your Soul and have some fun while you’re at it.