When were you first exposed to dharma?
I was first introduced to Buddhism during a course in college on world religions. I was raised Lutheran but was so confused and questioning of it my entire childhood. I then found Unitarian Universalism and it again exposed me to world religions but the one that resonated with me the most was Buddhism, mindfulness and dharma. I then met a friend in college and later married, his parents were journey beginning from the introduction, to the west, by Jon Cabot Zinn. His book, “Wherever You Go There You Are” was an easy guide.
But my practice really deepened after experiencing post pardon depression. It was the Buddhist path that helped me the most come back to the light in life. We taught our 2 daughters the wisdom of Buddhism, which shaped all of our worldviews, especially for compassion. Many years later I was lost in depression again during personal sufferings, I lost my way and entered hot mess territory. After contemplating who am I, remembering meditation, sitting zazen, being-here, right-now, it took me awhile to find the light again.
How has the path manifest in your daily experience?
In my daily experience it is death that brings me the most, surprising, comfort and joy. Death has become the most important teacher for me. I embrace the Buddha’s Five Remembrances on impermanence and it provides me with great illumination. We are all of the nature to grow old, we are all of the nature to die, and our actions are the ground on which we stand. This is what cultivates my gratitude and appreciation for being alive here and now.
What are some of your practices/rituals that you do to support your spiritual development (meditation/prayers and etc)
My practice is attending sangha three or more times a week. Sitting meditation about 4 times a week for 30 minutes. Lately more and more I practice walking meditation, wilderness sauntering and open my awareness to all of life. I do a lot of gardening and that is always mindful meditation for me. When retreats are available that I may attend I go and they are of great benefit.