How long have you been coming to MOI events?
Since early 2020, shortly after I moved here to Omaha.
How did you get interested in meditation practice?
I was always interested in different spiritual paths, but I started to take it seriously when a therapist introduced me to insight meditation sometime around 2014. I was recently sober and very depressed, but I had a lot of time on my hands to practice. So I would sit in a cemetery for hours meditating– which was quite a good environment to contemplate the impermanence of all things.
Share a memory or feeling you have about MOI.
One of the first times I came it was like remembering a place and people that I’ve known for a long time, even though it was all new to me. It was the first time that I was surrounded by people studying the same path and it was very refreshing. That gave me a new energy for my practice.
What does your meditation practice look like?
It centers around the three refuges. Studying the Dharma through reading, living the Dharma through practice but also day to day, and then finding opportunities to connect and learn from others on the path through sangha.
Share a favorite quote, mantra, intention or saying that is currently guiding you in practice.
Simply begin again. That’s the first one that comes to mind. As someone who is very hard on myself, it is helpful to come back to this phrase and remind myself that it’s okay. Just start again in this moment.
What is your definition of sangha?
To me, it’s about connection to others interested in and practicing mindfulness. It’s nice to be around people studying the same version of the eight fold path, but sometimes it might look like connecting with people of other similar paths.
Name a book on the dharma that you consider a must read.
Living Dharma: Teachings and Meditation Instructions from Twelve Theravada Masters by Jack Kornfield
What are you currently working with in your practice?
So much! In general trying to live from a place of loving-kindness all the time. Both towards the self and towards others.
What has mindfulness and/or mediation helped you with?
It was the single most impactful thing when recovering from addiction. Learning about craving in such a clear way helped me identify the sources of suffering in my life and how that was causing suffering in other lives. Even more impactful it helped me to be motivated by seeing how removing suffering from my life has a clear and positive impact on the world around me.
Tell us about one challenging story you have had on your dharma journey.
About a year ago, after having practiced pretty faithfully for nearly 6 years, I started to really struggle with doubt. I was struggling to “pick a path” and remain dedicated without wandering into other spiritual paths and getting distracted. It is something I’m still working through, but I’ve found that time and time again– more than any other practice– coming back to this version of the teachings of the dharma and path have a clear positive impact on my life. There are many synchronicities that happen in my life calling me back to this path at the right times. I think that now I am trying to release the need to know this will be a path for final liberation or that I even have to want that right now (there’s a lot to unpack there haha). But there is a clear benefit to my life and the effect my life has on others by practicing this path.
Finally, what are some of your other interests outside of the dharma?
I enjoy the community around live music and dancing. Also, I create a lot of things like music, podcasts, writing, painting, etc. My work is pretty great too– I work in a marketing leadership role so I get to be creative and strategic while mentoring others on my teams.
Thank you, Craig! We are so happy you are a part of MOI’s sangha!