Perhaps it was three or so. I’m not positive, but young. You know, like first memories young: vivid, yet hazy. Any case, I remember wanting to meet God. You see I was raised Christian. The casual type… Sunday church, youth group and so on. Much of that is behind. But I digress. I wanted to meet, know or something God. I remember focusing and perhaps praying.
And then something worthwhile happened. I can't say I have any particular words for this, but it was both satisfying and it anchored a quest for knowing something other than this limited perspective.
Through the years I've explored various systems as obscure as Rosicrucianism and various new age systems. But the most interesting trainings I’ve participated in settled and sharpened my mind. These include Shavic Tantrism, Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan, Naam Yoga and Daoism (including the inner smile techniques, but also classical Daoist meditation texts).
This search was really started in earnest around nineteen. And spent my twenties investigating these systems. I also got hooked into other philosophical systems such as Epicureanism, phenomenology and postmodernism.
While in school for Chinese Medicine, a friend of mine, Drew Litchy, said, "Come and Meditate!" Which I did. At thirty-two, I went to Missouri for retreat at Dhamma Sukha. That's where I got hooked and really only have tangential interest in other systems.
I spent several years after that first retreat reading as many suttas as possible rooting out the core of the teaching in its own terms. I tend not to engage in them in the same way anymore. My greatest joy now is to see others read the suttas, but more importantly, deepen their practice and spreading the teachings through their presence with others.
I hope that the words shared and the presence provided through your retreat will bring you great benefit.
"Little though he recites the sacred texts, but puts the Teaching into practice, forsaking lust, hatred, and delusion, with true wisdom and emancipated mind, clinging to nothing of this or any other world — he indeed partakes of the blessings of a holy life."