October 4, 2017 :: ANDREW LLOYD


  • Steps for systematic, long-term training in Background Awareness.
  • Easing up around underreacting and overreacting until finding the magic spot.
  • After acting, “breakdown analysis”.


Drew lives with his wife and two sons near Gainesville, Florida, and works as an MRI technologist at the University of Florida Health Shands Hospital. When he has the time, he likes to exercise, play guitar and drums, and meditate.

He started meditating in high school.

I was drawn to martial arts and got into Bruce Lee. His book Tao of Jeet Kune Do quotes the Tao Te Ching, Krishnamurti, Buddhism, etc. It all made intuitive sense to me. I got a copy of the Tao Te Ching and that made me feel solidly that there’s something unspeakable and true down deep. 

Drew continued exploring meditation through various paths, and later practiced Korean Soen (Zen) with a local group at a center started by Sunim Seungsahn. He grew his sitting practice in earnest, enjoyed studying The Three Pillars of Zen, and participated in retreats. 

With life changes, his practice dropped off a bit.

My first child was born, and I was graduating to work as a radiology tech. I felt some pressure from the Soen organization to initiate. I have an anti-authoritarian streak, and the chanting and cultural trappings seemed like extra fluff around the central message. I did the initiation, got robes and all that, but it just felt wrong.

He found Shinzen’s work by listening to podcasts.

I heard Shinzen on podcast interviews several years in the past, but I thought his style was too formulaic. After being away from mediation for several years and feeling the need for spiritual practice, I stumbled upon his work again via the Secular Buddhist podcast. This time it resonated very strongly with me. I appreciate Shinzen’s focus on what meditation and awakening can bring to stressful situations, work, relationships -- the real life where the rubber meets the road. 

In terms of practice in life, Drew is most comfortable with See Hear Feel, and Self-Inquiry is appealing to him “because it seems less mechanical or rote.” Regarding his practice over time, he summarized:

The more “interesting” meditation experiences brought significant changes in perspective, but without inducing notable lasting changes. I don’t have any dramatic stories or insights. I’ve experienced more of a slow, steady burn. When I look back, I can see the curve of things – how I’m less caught up in reactivity, fantasy, and all that. 

Which, of course, is a very significant insight.

Emily BarrettComment