How long have you been coming to MOI events?
I began attending in 2015 and then with more of a frequency in 2017.
How did you get interested in meditation practice?
I encountered a variety of meditation practices throughout the course of my travels. I was introduced to Insight meditation most prominently in 2009.
Share a memory or feeling you have about MOI.
Upon moving to the Omaha area in 2013, I kept encountering Johnathan Woodside’s business cards pinned to a number of boards in coffee shops, restaurants, etc. When his name popped up in a number of conversations, I took the leap and reached out to him.
My most recent memory was sitting around the main table at the MOI house on Tuesday night. It was community night where we all sat and sipped on tea. Someone brought a cake to share. The loving energy, the warm tea and the conversation warmed my heart. Nothing to do with the cake!
What does your meditation practice look like?
With the loving kindness and support of all the MOI teachers my practice has evolved to be one infused with kindness to self, where mindfulness is present more often than previously and includes a varied combination of the aspects of practice/dharma, mindfulness, insight etc.
Share a favorite quote, mantra, intention or saying that is currently guiding you in practice.
May I have ease (on my head, mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally). Equanimity and resting in the nature of things as they are and as they take place. Wise and skillful with every word, thought and action. Permission to…(rest, settle, pause, stop…)
What is your definition of sangha?
Can I google first? LOL
What I understand by sangha is the individuals that come to form a community. We gather with like hearted individuals that (for a variety of reasons) come together to learn more about the practice of Mindfulness/Insight Meditation, the dharma and so forth. It is a haven where we can then discuss, converse, and offer support with each other’s intention in the use of this practice in every moment. The chance to return to the group and go over the teachings is very powerful to me.
Name a book on the dharma that you consider a must read.
In the Buddha’s Words by Bhikkhu Bodhi
What are you currently working with in your practice?
I am working with death, rebirth and desire. And also, the nature of the mind in upcoming decisions. I am noticing where the nature is the same and then pausing to allow for the nature to be wholesome before stepping into another opportunity.
What has mindfulness and/or mediation helped you with?
For a very long time many things I took refuge in where cigarettes, alcohol, excess shopping, gossip etc. I continue to reap the benefits of not putting my Body, Mind and Soul through hell, not mistreating any of it. Whether within or external it has helped my relationships. It has provided me release of unnecessary suffering.
Tell us about one success story you have had on your dharma journey.
I am not sure when I felt it but there was a strong desire to work on lessening the suffering caused to myself and those around me. This practice has provided me that. It has assisted me with breaking generational cycles of trauma, present day cycles of traumatic experiences and overall general well-being.
Tell us about one challenging story you have had on your dharma journey.
There was a phase when I was working with integrating a formal sitting practice. Boy oh boy did that challenge me. Wow!
Finally, what are some of your other interests outside of the dharma?
I love traveling without packing anything. I love dancing in any form and most recently have found this excitement for singing. I am a big fan of food from different countries. My love for beaches and the salty seas. Sailing across the Atlantic is one of my favorites but that’s not been done in a while now which reminds me of those hitch-hiking days where an encounter would bring about so many varied topics to chat about. Finally, I am always a fan of a new adventures and trying new things.
Thank you, Ilona! We are so happy you are a part of MOI’s sangha!