That’s how John described the flavor of recent connections with fellow meditation practitioners, either virtually or at in-person retreats throughout the world. He came to meditation via a rough road of depression. John grew up in Dublin, Ireland, and did all the things he was supposed to do. He was in school studying architecture when it hit him.
Things were very phony, very fake. Suddenly I didn't even know who I was. I felt like I missed it all, which really hurt me, broke me. I dropped out of school and went into a sort of cave.
It wasn't a light kind of pushing, “Oh I wonder what this is?” You know how some people find it that way? For me it was all at once and felt quite intense: “There is something deeper and you have to go find it.”
In the beginning, what I loved about the meditation was how it seemed to offer something true.
John’s first exposure to meditation was by stumbling on it online – first Jon Kabat-Zinn’s work, then Thich Nhat Hahn, Shinzen, Sri Mooji, and others. Then he began joining retreats online and going to in-person retreats. He’s been to see Sri Mooji twice this year. Here he explains how that style of practice has changed him, and how it balances with Shinzen’s style of practice for him.
There isn't a huge meditation community here in Ireland, but it’s starting to grow and spread. At one point, without community, I found my practice was getting really dry, really cerebral. I was trying to make my meditation suit images I had about what enlightenment is or how the meditator should look. When I went to Mooji, that balanced out.
Shinzen is very technical whereas Mooji has a sort of devotional style. They are pointing you to the same place. If your relationship to both approaches is true, there shouldn't really be a problem. I know when I’m out of balance. Working with both styles keeps me honest.
John is also currently in the Unified Mindfulness teacher training. If you are also in that training, you may have seen him in the online support group, as he is very active there.
My core passion would be to work with people and help them understand themselves and be free of suffering. This means doing a lot of work on myself too. I take everything day by day. People are hungry to be real; I just have to be real.
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