How long have you been coming to MOI events?
I started going to MOI around October of 2021.
How did you get interested in meditation practice?
I first got interested in meditation practice after reading ‘The Art of Zen’ by Alan Watts and started to get interested in the idea of learning more about my own mind.
Share a memory or feeling you have about MOI.
I went to the May 2022 retreat, and while getting ready to actually leave I felt suddenly panicked. I thought there was no way I could spend three days meditating (or three days separated from my regular daily life). At the retreat center I quickly realized I wasn’t the only one who was a little nervous about the experience, and just in general everyone’s warm welcoming attitude put me at ease. It ended up being one of the best ways I’ve ever spent a weekend.
What does your meditation practice look like?
My meditation practice at the moment is actually a little uneven. I manage to sit about four or five times a week, but there are still days where I don’t. I try to get in some teachings via reading or listening regularly, and I focus on different parts of the Eightfold Path in my daily life. Throughout whatever else is going on in my daily life (work, chores, etc.) I try to find as many moments as possible where I can be aware and mindful of what it is I’m doing.
Share a favorite quote, mantra, intention or saying that is currently guiding you in practice.
What is your definition of sangha?
To me sangha is a community of people who all, in some way or another, practice the Dharma and want to support each other’s practice as much as they can.
Name a book on the dharma that you consider a must read.
Early on I read “The Road Home” by Ethan Nichtern and found it very helpful. Of course, I’m also a huge fan of Bhikkhu Bodhi’s “The Noble Eightfold Path: Way to the End of Suffering”.
What are you currently working with in your practice?
Right speech, so much right speech. Both in the speech that makes its way out into the world and the speech that stays in my head as self-talk. I find working with it to be incredibly challenging but also very rewarding.
What has mindfulness and/or mediation helped you with?
Mindfulness has helped me have much more of a sense of ease in my day-to-day. It’s made me realize that the voice in my head doesn’t need to be taken so seriously – it’s just another sound – and that the other frustrations that come along with life don’t need to be taken so personally.
Tell us about one success story you have had on your dharma journey.
I feel like one of the biggest success’s I’ve had so far is coming to an understanding of what being mindful feels like. Before that, I didn’t really notice how much of my day I spent living in my head, worrying about the future or living in the past. Now I feel like I have a target to aim for, and a real path toward being present in everything I do.
Tell us about one challenging story you have had on your dharma journey.
Sitting for extended periods of time has been a real challenge for me. Particularly while on retreat, I didn’t just step away to do something else when my back got sore or my legs fell asleep. I’m still working with sitting when that discomfort really begins to settle in.
Finally, what are some of your other interests outside of the dharma?
I enjoy playing and listening to music. I love to read, and I’m also a writer. And I’ve been known to lose an afternoon here or there to a good video game.
Thank you, Gabran! We are so happy you are a part of MOI’s sangha!