Where do you live?
How did you come to meditation?
I discovered meditation out of that empty place where so many awakenings are born….that place called rock bottom. That was the place where I found myself after finally reaching the “American Dream.” In the course of one year, I lost it all, job, family, beautiful home, almost my life. From that place of complete brokenness, I rented a one room apartment overlooking a tranquil river, bought a nice chair, faced it out over the water and began being silent and writing and meditating. I decided I was not leaving there until I found peace.
What inspires you to meditate?
The taste of stillness that I have found. The quietness.
What does your meditation practice look like?
I have started waking up and simply sitting in silence for 30 minutes. Usually, after breakfast I consistently do my meditation practice. Throughout the day and my life I find meditation in writing, being out on a trail, being on my paddleboard on the water, yoga most days, tai chi and qigong practices. Although I have found nothing to compare with playing at a park with a five year-old.
Do you have any rituals or routines that support your practice?
Being part of Dakini’s Teacher Training program has certainly supported my practices. Being a very unscheduled, artistic personality, setting a morning practice at the same time each day has enabled me to develop a consistency, like brushing my teeth. I now also meditate 30 minutes to an hour prior to sleep, which bookends a day of life in the world.
How is your life different because of meditation?
Meditation increasingly has helped me develop a calm, spaciousness around myself within the world. Most things do not phase me anymore and I attribute this to meditation. Friends and family have found me to be a more calming presence than the person I was a decade ago. Meditation has also taken me much deeper into myself, which at times can be very painful. But I become aware that this part of me would have been buried there had I not taken time to acknowledge it and sit with it. I think these are the deeper waters.
What are the biggest challenges you have encountered in your practice?
I have a very busy and active “monkey mind” like so many other people. Some days my active mind wins the day. However, it is with the consistency of meditation daily over long periods of time that I begin to notice and become aware of a greater change taking place.
What advice would you share with someone who is just starting a meditation practice?
My greatest encouragement would be to commit to yourself the gift of consistently sticking with it for at least 30 days. Even if you can only sit for 5 minutes at the same time each day for 30 days, something will have happened and you will long for more. Everyone has an active mind. Do not let that deter you in the beginning from sticking with the practice.
What does your heart most long for?
My heart longs for others to find freedom from deep suffering. Once you have witnessed this up close and personally, you will be forever changed. You will know what Buddhism refers to as the “quivering heart” of compassion. To know this suffering exists on some level for so many is a suffering that I long for others to be freed from. I am learning that this freedom can only begin for others as I begin to free myself from my own suffering. Meditation has offered this path to freedom.