Grew up? Wanganui
Wanted to be? An Artist
Social clique at school? Didn’t really have any ‘clique’ I belonged to. I’ve never really felt like I belonged to anything exclusively.
Hardest thing about being a teenager? Testosterone
Greatest disappointment hitting adulthood? …
Greatest challenge or hardship to date? Monastic life during my twenties, and the challenges that brought up. In that environment I met, for the first time, the rawness of the heart and mind in an unobstructed way – the learning seems to have been that the only way ‘out’ is through!
In a former life, this lifetime, you were a…? Rock musician
Worth getting out of bed for? Meditation! Hell yes!
Worth staying in bed for? Letting go of the need to be anything, do anything, or go anywhere
Most indulgent pleasure? Playing the electric guitar, loudly.
Least likely place to find you? Antarctica
Favourite mode of transport? Piggy back.
Thing you feel guiltiest about? Unfolding and working with the toxic force of guilt in the heart has been a huge part of my journey. Coming to see that violence towards myself never results in a ‘better person’, let alone freedom and ease, has been very powerful.
Greatest sin (should you care to divulge)? I don’t really resonate with the word ‘sin’. There are intentions, harmful or harmless, but no one ‘up there’ who is judging me for them. We reap what we sow.
Greatest achievement? Not being as concerned about achievements as I used to be.
Greatest dream? That one where I’m flying. I’d still like to know how come it’s so easy to fly in dreams…
And going deeper now… what propelled you into practice?
It was a combination of suffering and a longing for relief. The suffering part was a combination of intense fearfulness and acute self-hatred – tight, obsessive mental patterns that were screwing up my friendships, and my life in general. The longing was something that arose from out of the blue, so it seemed.
It was most probably sparked by reading some powerful Buddhist books, which gave me a whole new perspective on what might be possible in life.
Getting into the Buddha’s teachings was like entering a whole new dimension of previously unimagined possibility. In my heart this manifested as a kind of celebration, as well as a willingness to do whatever it took to taste the fruits of practice for myself.
What’s been the biggest surprise or insight into life since you began practicing?
That I don’t have to become a ‘perfect person’ to feel that this moment is perfect, just as it is.
What’s your area of expertise?
The practice of meditation, from a Buddhist ‘Insight’ perspective, and bringing kindness and awareness into all of life.
I also know a lot about what it’s like to suffer from self-judgment and the ‘inner tyrant’ – and, as a result of devoting a lot of time to healing that force, ways of unfolding and transforming it into radical acceptance, compassion and inner-friendship. I base my own practice of inquiry and insight on these life-giving qualities.
And finally, where’s the world headed and what can we do about it?
I honestly have no idea. What we can do is be kind, live simply, and bring forth an unreasonable gratitude for all the blessings we already have. That will probably help.