I had carefully drafted my backstory, ensuring it adequately captured a synopsis of my most private of thoughts, struggles and experiences: my darker, hidden side (or one that I attempted to keep hidden, anyway). Then I realized, I don’t really care about the “story” anymore. Not hiding it. Just have no need to ‘out’ it, own it, or even overcome it. The story (including the bits that still drive certain preferences or behavior) was never really real, never really "me," to begin with.
Anyway, if you read the blog, you’ll probably get glimpses of the backstory here and there. In the meantime, the TLDR regarding the hidden or more difficult bits goes something like this:
In November 2021, I headed to a silent retreat at a nearby Buddhist retreat center. I wasn't Buddhist and didn't know the teacher (Jason Bartlett). I just desperately yearned for the quiet of retreat and meditation while in a beautiful natural setting where I could, hopefully, get a little peace of mind. What I actually got was a surprising twist to my life journey.
I suppose my outer life, to others, looks basically the same. What I see, however, are significant shifts in habits and views - from a reduction in how easily things trigger me, to increased impulse control, to some profoundly freeing meditation and cultivation practices. My inner world and life-orientation since that retreat have become quite different, despite appearances.
I think we all ultimately have this capacity to allow a transformation to unfold that, when we're truly present, we can simply watch like a fascinating play, without getting entangled or interfering with the effort of personal will. The rest of "my story" will be whatever it is. As I explore, my current intention is to share what I discover on this site.
Let's see what's around the bend!
I've been exploring spiritual teachings since around 1990. But I started asking deep life questions when I was six. So, I guess the "spiritual instinct," as Adyashanti calls it, has been fairly strong for me since childhood. I had out-of-body experiences, powerful dreams, premonitions, remote viewing and other psychic type stuff that weren't explainable. I didn't continue down the path of trying to further develop these senses or skills, but they had a lasting impression on me. They pointed to something... a potential, or possibility of the world be other than how I normally view it. I was curious, yet most people around me didn't share the curiosity and adults didn't have answers to my questions.
Over the three decades since my mid-twenties, I followed a number of paths. I was a disciple of a Master who taught a Quan Yin sound-light meditation, explored the path of a yogi, completed A Course in Miracles in 2014, tried out Kashmir Shaiva Tantra, was part of Gangaji's sangha (and Advaita Vedanta teachings) for many years, studied the Tao Te Ching, began diving into self-inquiry and contemplation practices, and at the age of 54 found myself suddenly adopting Buddhism with great enthusiasm.
Within my first year of practicing and studying Buddhism, I explored many of the various schools of the Buddha's teachings. They all (Theravada, Dzogchen, Ch'an and Zen, Pure Land) have something unique to offer. My own unique path still seems to be evolving. At this point, I am most drawn to the discipline and modest lifestyle of the Theravada Thai Forest tradition and the direct and simple meditation practice of the oldest Ch'an teachings.
Though I sometimes feel called to live the quiet life of a hermit, I haven't stopped working or being a friend or a relative to people I love, or participating in society. Rather, I try to let the most important thing be what informs how I show up in the unfolding of life as I perceive it.
Aside from that, in case it's of interest, I hold a Masters in Transpersonal Psychology, have a certificate in Transformational Life Coaching, a certification in Feng Shui consulting, and I've completed numerous various personal, technical and professional trainings over the course of 30 or so years. My full-time career is currently as a Program Manager in the healthcare IT and cloud hosting industry. Prior to this, I've been in software and telecommunications for most of my career. doing project and account management. Some of my absolute favorite work was in 2007-2008 when I took a break from tech and worked as a life-coach as well as creating and facilitating self-development workshops in the Seattle area.
As of 2021, I have begun creating jewelry and malas. Other hobbies and interests include facilitating deep conversations about life-the universe-and everything (more specifically, about emptiness, non-duality, and non-volitional living), hiking, hanging out with Meadow (dog), Pilates, Qigong, and I’m a total nerd about home organizing and power tools.
Long nutshell, but there you have it.
AwareBeing.com was first launched in 2002 and has undergone many transformations and taken a hiatus now and then. 20 years later in 2022, I decided to relaunch the site with a more intuitive, albeit somewhat unplanned, approach. I aspire to share my journey and some resources I hope will be of service to you.
I don't know who first wrote this, but a colleague shared it once and it resonated deeply. Whether in my full-time job, hosting a group discussion, leading or practicing meditation, hanging out with loved ones, playing with my dog, or making jewelry, if I am doing what I love - if I am being with and from love - there is a natural balance that occurs. A tuning into an effortlessly wise, authentic way to engage in the world.
What shows up on this site will, to the best of my ability, always come from a place of truth. Sometimes it may be straight from my heart and truth will be intuited. Sometimes it may be just be opinion or even personal pain rather than truth speaking; but I will try to be honest about that too. This journey is ongoing. I'm pretty sure I'll mess up at times. But I am always doing my best, so that's okay.
Thank you for being here. Thank you for taking this journey as a fellow sentient being. Thank you for doing your best (and you really are always doing your best). In deepest gratitude and appreciation, thank you, and welcome.