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Although Nick would later admire Fromm’s works as an adult, he had not yet read this at age 11, when he got a real taste of CC+E.
I was eating an ice cream cone on the way home from grandma’s house, and I thought: I’m not really enjoying this. I should enjoy every single lick of this ice cream cone! So I continued by slowly mindfully eating the ice cream cone. I remember thinking, okay, this is a cool thing.
He got another taste for mindful awareness through martial arts training in his 20s.
I pursued martial arts because, I was living in Los Angeles and, straight up, I wanted to be able to defend myself if I ever needed to. I practiced standing meditation as a part of Kung Fu, and I practiced Qigong, which is a movement meditation. A black belt in Kung Fu told me I should get a cushion and sit on it at night but, at that point, I still felt like sitting meditation was a step beyond martial arts.
A decade later, Nick found Vipassana recommended in a book by Charles Tart, and, around the same time, Shinzen’s paradigm was recommended to him.
It wasn’t long before I wanted to do a retreat. I went out to Tucson and dove right in. It was a shock to do that – for my legs at least! I’ve been meditating ever since.
One of the many benefits I’ve experienced is being very clear about my internal experience. In a challenging situation, it’s been interesting to discern: what mental talk do I need that’s actually useful, versus what mental talk is repetitive and just raising my anxiety?
Currently Nick identifies as Buddhist, but acknowledged that many paths have led to his meditation practice.
Lots of different philosophies have similar threads that have made an impact on me. In college people would said, What are you? And, just to piss them off, I’d say, I’m an atheist. Later I’d say agnostic, and then I’d say a Taoist. And now I say I’m a Buddhist. I believe in being virtuous, so I’m also a Stoic. I’m very much into Western Psychology. I really love the works of Erich Fromm -- the Art of Loving and The Art of Being. I could go on.
Everything seemed to point me toward meditation being the philosophy and spiritual practice that ultimately makes this life better and helps me to serve others.
And I can play tennis a whole lot better.
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