What's your origin story

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4 months 3 weeks ago #113838 by Tom Otvos
Being a meditation superhero, what is the origin story for your practice? Many will have contributed something on the "Welcome" thread, but I thought it would be interesting to revisit that in a single thread in part because, from this perspective in time, your story as you tell it may now be different.

This is a publicly visible category, so be mindful of sharing very private details.

-- tomo
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4 months 3 weeks ago #113839 by Shargrol
Replied by Shargrol on topic What's your origin story
Ironically, at the same moment you created this thread, a meditation friend and I were discussing this very same topic. My answer was that I was surrounded by rich people when I grew up and. despite their material well being, they were frequently unhappy and somewhat insane people. It sent me on a quest for happiness and sanity.
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4 months 3 weeks ago - 4 months 3 weeks ago #113841 by Chris Marti
Well, Tom, it all started when my father took me out for a short trip, and for the first time, I became aware of sickness, old age, and death... Oh, wait, that's not my origin story!

I've probably said this many times but I was drawn to meditation because of anxiety issues. These were mostly job related but in trying to get to the root of it, in therapy, it became obvious to me that I felt out of sync with things "inside versus outside" and that started me on an investigation of the Buddhist path. Once I got into it, one thing just led to another over the course of the years.
Last edit: 4 months 3 weeks ago by Chris Marti.
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4 months 3 weeks ago #113844 by SigmaTropic
I was in grad school and was addicted to various substances. I hated being sober. I had an A&P that was triggered by doing DMT and I hadn't ever sat down to meditate at that point. I was blissed out and slept for 3-4 hours per night for several weeks and got a ton of work done. That series of events brought me to NA and they talked about meditation.  A few months later I sat down for the first time to meditate in a little corner of the grad student office I worked in before starting lab work for the day.
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4 months 3 weeks ago #113846 by Ona Kiser
Replied by Ona Kiser on topic What's your origin story
I'd always been interested in or involved in spiritual practices, sometimes quite seriously, but the sense that I urgently needed to solve a particular problem came when my dad died. He was a meticulous, organized, intelligent man, with all his ducks in a row, so to speak. And yet when he died, all the things I had been taught to value were revealed to be impermanent, broken, lost, empty. A bunch of other deaths and injuries occurred around the same time, and I was so afflicted I thought I needed to understand how to die well. I started listening to guided meditations, including some from Buddhist Geeks, and from there found Alan Chapman, whose teaching was a good fit until I felt called to Christianity, which he thought a bit silly. However, Christianity has been an even better fit than previous practices, and remains so despite conflicts with teachers, disappointments with peers and family, and all the rest of the plot twists that come up. The initial intention to die well turned later into a general intention to know divine light, love and wisdom (that's how I expressed it then) and is now largely a general intention that my every thought, word and deed be in accordance with God's will and for His glory and the salvation of souls, and a frequent begging of His mercy for all the miserable messes we all cause each other here in this life. 
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4 months 3 weeks ago - 4 months 3 weeks ago #113847 by Shaun Elstob
I went with my parents to see Jesus Christ Superstar in 1974 at the age of seven. “Heaven On Their Minds” is still one of my favourite songs. I was horrified by and fascinated with the idea of crucifixion. I was deeply touched by the idea that this man/god died for my benefit. At the age of nineteen or twenty I decided that I’d been disappointed by god once too often, so I turned my back on it all. I’d also always been fascinated with anything and everything anomalous or mysterious; Ghosts, monsters, aliens, UFO’s, etc. These interests have endured all my life and it’s led me to seek answers about the nature of our existence. In 2003, I read Aleister Crowley’s autobiography and was motivated to seek out and join the Ordo Templi Orientis. I became interested in meditation and was fortunate to stumble upon MCTB and then Kenneth Folk’s website and AwakeNetwork. I’ve seen the dramatic changes in my life as a result of my practice and I’m profoundly grateful.
Last edit: 4 months 3 weeks ago by Shaun Elstob.
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4 months 3 weeks ago #113848 by Kacchapa
Replied by Kacchapa on topic What's your origin story
A full-blown Christian mystical experience intruded on my spiritually and intellectually dormant mind when I was 14 or 15. By 16 I had heard about psychedelics and explored those for a school year, culminating in an MDA-induced extended mystical episode that changed my life.

I stopped all drugs and smoking and lost interest (at 17!) in sex and had an image from a psychedelic episode of abandoning society and becoming a desert hermit, though I wasn't sure what they did. 

I read a book by Hermann Hesse (Glass Bead Game) in high school that mentioned meditation which sent me to the library. The second book I found was 3 Pillars of Zen by Philip Kapleau and half-way through had a conversion experience from my family's Protestant Christianity to Zen and Buddhism.

A few months later I dropped out of high school and made my way to the Rochester Zen Center, one of only 4 or 5 Buddhist Meditation centers in the country at that time with people flocking from all over.

Kapleau's insistence that enlightenment is possible in this lifetime by our own efforts set me stumbling on a life path.
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4 months 3 weeks ago #113851 by Noah
Replied by Noah on topic What's your origin story
Parents were into eastern spirituality & grew up around it.  At age 17 had sudden onset of mood disorder & spent 5 years treating with conventional means of therapy & medication.  At age 22 discovered pragmatic dharma, DhO, maps & noting technique.  Possibility of awakening as another, more impactful layer of healing was deeply inspiring.  Began noting like a madman & the rest went from there.
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4 months 2 weeks ago #113854 by Kalle Ylitalo
The human mind and psychology have been a big interest of mine since I was a child. I didn't end up going to study psychology, but when my friend invited me to participate in a meditation session, I found that meditation also spoke to that same interest, maybe even in a more profound way. It's so interesting to directly perceive how various mental constructions work and to have found out that there are deeper levels to the human mind than just thoughts etc. Taking an active role to change things for the positive in ones mind is also a big interest of mine and seems to be a pretty straightforward process through certain meditation techniques. I've had a very active imagination for my whole life and I think it is somehow linked to this interest to the human mind. It feels like there's a part of me that has known that there is infinite potential in the mind and it seems that going deeper into meditation practice is making the potential more visible.
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4 months 2 weeks ago - 4 months 2 weeks ago #113855 by Philip Stone
I was always interested in the idea that the mind was territory to be explored. Partly that was down the the inordinate amount of sci-fi I consumed as a kid. Later I got interested in meditation and Budddhism but it never really took until after I ran smack into the combined wall of exhaustion, stress and depression, relatively late in life.

At one point I would have said that it was the crisis that provoked the flowering of practice but I can see now that really that happened afterwards - I'd already started meditating for better mental health reasons and the crisis was over but somehow this path thing was unfinished business. And then I fell into bad company, MCTB and AwakeNetwork and the rest is history. Well it's all history now :-)

As a meditation super hero I now fight for justice and world peace by sitting still for an hour and a half each day. May I save all beings - from myself.
Last edit: 4 months 2 weeks ago by Philip Stone. Reason: Super hero typos
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4 months 2 weeks ago #113859 by Kalle Ylitalo
I like this thread, thank you Tom for coming up with it. It's inspiring to hear how people ended up on the spiritual/meditative path.
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4 months 2 weeks ago #113862 by Tom Otvos
Replied by Tom Otvos on topic What's your origin story
Personally, I came into this much later in life through a vague sense of needing to get my life in better "control". I was being pulled in many directions, and then randomly heard an interview with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche on the CBC. He was a great interview and made me think, "hmm, maybe I should give this meditation thing a try". I was going on a business trip shortly thereafter, and so devote my off time in the hotel room to learn how to meditate from his book, as well as the "Introduction to Meditation" series on AudioDharma.

I then started to seek out other resources, including "3 Pillars of Zen", mentioned above. I continued to follow along with AudioDharma too, stumbling into concentration practice, and being curious about this "jhana" thing that was mentioned in the sutras but rarely, if ever, discussed online. From there, it was a relatively quick hop-skip-jump to MCTB which, when I first read (devoured) it, was a tremendous revelation that this awakening thing could be real.

Been wandering on the p/Path ever since. I think I have caught the ox, but tending it is another matter.

-- tomo
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4 months 1 day ago - 4 months 1 day ago #113922 by Nikolai
Replied by Nikolai on topic What's your origin story
It was the year 2000 and the Sydney Olympics were being held. I was 23 years old and miserable, studying at uni, living with my grandparents in the city. I hated my life at the time and felt I was lacking everything I needed to be happy. Very depressed. On a visit to my parents' house in the Blue Mountains, my mum, who was into all sorts of new agey things, said to me that I should sit this 10-day meditation course that had a retreat centre 20 minutes drive from where they live. I thought, man, I don't want to sit there and go "Ommm"  and have to sit around dirty incense-ridden hippies (my thoughts at the time), but I relented as the misery was too great. 

I went to sit the next ten-day on offer and the light bulb came on, proceeded to explode, crossed the A&P on the 9th day, and ended up finishing uni within 6 months of that course, moving to the same retreat centre to work and build the new strawbale dhamma hall, and sit 6 more 10-day courses over the next year. I then ended up moving to India afterwards to spend a year there studying Pali at Dhamma Giri, the main Goenka centre near Mumbai. Got to do a lot of dhamma bumming in that year, hanging around Goenka, Munindraji, cobras slithering across the vipassana centre grounds, going on a yatra/pilgrimage with Goenka to Burma, becoming a monk under one of Goenka's favourite Burmese monks at the time for two weeks, doing my own pilgrimage to Bodh Gaya, Varanasi/Sarnath, Kushinagar, as well as Sarvasti, and then across the border to Lumbini in Nepal, which was an adventure in and of itself. I was the classic dhamma nutcase. This is all within a year and a half of thinking only dirty hippies did meditation. 

After that, I spent some more time being a dhamma bum living at the centre then got restless, dark nighting hard unknowingly, gave up , returned gave up, (I rolled my mat up a number of times), suffered some more, then in 2008 I needed to unroll my mat again and return to the Dhamma. In my search for inspiration, while I was living in Chile at the time, I found the Buddhist Geeks podcast with Daniel, which led to the DhO, which led to re-focusing my efforts, which then led to doing my last ever Goenka 10 day at the end of 2009 (I'm now on their naughty list) and then all the craziness that followed with Dho, KFd and the scisms and the this and that. (End of stream of thought)
Last edit: 4 months 1 day ago by Nikolai.
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4 months 1 day ago #113923 by Shargrol
Replied by Shargrol on topic What's your origin story
That's an origin story and a resolution story! :)  Good to "see" you Nik!
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3 months 3 weeks ago #113967 by Eric
Replied by Eric on topic What's your origin story
I suppose there was always too much unsatisfactoriness.  Other people seemed to cruise through life more easily, while I was struggling a bit more and at some level always "looking for a way out".

I was introduced to Carlos Castaneda in high school (at a conservative christian prep school no less, what are the odds) which kind of got me browsing that part of the bookstore.  Later, reading a few High Times magazines turned me on to people writing about psychedelics, which led to Ram Dass' Journey of Awakening.  I meditated one time because of that.

Got into Yogananda in my late twenties.  I had been laid off work, my girlfriend dumped me, I was sick, and I went to the local used bookstore where I saw Yogananda staring out at me (I recognized his image from the ads they used to run in the back of magazines).  It struck me as kind of interesting, "what exactly is a yogi's life about anyway?".  That book told me what I wanted to hear, that there was magic of sorts, and there was a way out.  I ended up meditating for about three months because of that.

Read a lot of Zen and dabbled for a couple of decades until I finally did a retreat and had a big A&P experience.  That sold me, but it still took a few years to commit to a daily practice.
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3 months 6 days ago - 2 months 2 weeks ago #114035 by microbuddha
Meditated in my 20's a significant amount, got married, kept practicing. Decided to step up practice after learning about pragmatic dharma and a couple years later something really good happened.  Life is better, but there still some territory to be discovered. 
Last edit: 2 months 2 weeks ago by microbuddha.
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