HOW DID MY JOURNEY BEGIN?
We are beginning-less.
And there are infinitely many beginnings.
So too there are infinitely many stories I could tell.
Here is one story about a beginning:
I grew up with a limited and limiting sense of the world. When my uncle died there was a neurosurgeon that came to be with us. He was also a contemplative counselor. He was quite learned in the church of western material scientism. As my uncle was dying, the neurosurgeon told me, "There is so much that scientists don't know. From everything I have learned, it makes more sense that life continues beyond death than that it doesn’t. There is more that we don’t understand than that we do understand." Hearing this really opened my mind and allowed me to taste a deep well-spring of positive potential.
Since then, I have been looking into the "more", the "more" that scientists don't know, the "more" beyond death, the "more" that we don't understand. How do we connect-in to a sense of it? How do we let it imbue our lives with meaning, purpose and hope?
The idea that we become nothing after death, and so we should grab as much as we can now on this hedonic treadmill, indulge and have as much fun as we can, and as Hunter S. Thompson said - and as many hold as wisdom - "...skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming 'Wow! What a Ride!'", is a really unsatisfying worldview for me. In fact it made my life utterly meaningless. It undermines the paramount need for ethics, kindness, and being constructive for the benefit of others.
I needed to become convinced that this wasn’t the case; not just through blind belief but through reason, logic, science, and direct experience. Through rigorous critical analysis and investigation, it becomes apparent: it is most plausible that life continues, that we are totally interconnected, that every action taken or not taken, every thought even, has an effect and result, and therefore what we do in each moment matters. Once we come to that - that life continues, that we are interconnected, and that what we do matters - it follows that benefiting others is the real source of wellbeing, joy, and even fun; because we are others. Then, nothing is more important than learning how to truly benefit others and becoming that benefit to others.
It is not so easy to figure out how to truly benefit others. This is why I have studied so much. I have been going through life with the question, "How can I help?" for many years and I've looked in many places.
It wasn’t until I found the Nalanda tradition of contemplative science and particularly the teachings on interconnectivity and altruism that I came to a source - not a concrete answer, not a technique or modality, but a stance, a view, a way of navigating our shared experience with discernment and gentleness, a way of shared sense-making that orients us toward the immediacy of the great mystery and allows us to skillfully live in the question, "How can I be of service?".
Ultimately, it is a way of embodying well-being and guiding others to embody well-being. It is the essential nectar which brings everything else I’ve studied to life — which brings life to life.