I was born in 1971 in the suburbs of New York City. I had a very free and nurturing childhood, with a strong spiritual influence from my family. Discipline was somewhat foreign to me, yet somehow I never did many things that could get me in trouble. I developed a deep love for the natural world during my youth, sparked by Great-uncle. He was always a quiet man, and I never got to know him in any deep way. He happened to live with and take care of my Great-grandmother, so when my family would visit her, which we did regularly, his presence was about. I remember being utterly fascinated with a little stuffed bird he had in the living room. I would stare into the bird’s eyes, just waiting for it to spring back into flight. I was mesmerized with its beauty. I would visualize what its life must have been like, the things it had seen, the adventures, the flights, the views… Its family… they were probably outside singing…. I fell deeply in love with that bird and its extended family, and then all of nature…
I spent my late teens finding my adult-self…with lots of adventures…and mis-adventures… I graduated high school and went on to college, majoring in Natural Resources Conservation.. I wanted to ‘Save the World!!’. I took 3 years to get my 2 year degree, getting high honors in the end, even though I flunked out spectacularly (0.00 gpa!)in the second year. The next 6 years I bounced around, attending 3 different colleges, with 5 different attempts, finally getting my 4-year degree in Environmental Science, 9 years after high school, with honors again amongst the dropping out.. It was in the middle of this time I found out about Buddhism. I was still searching for deep meaning in my life, and college, while fantastic for me, wasn’t providing me the answers I so badly desired. To be honest, I don’t recall exactly how I found out about Buddhism, but I think it was a simple as looking in a bookstore at books about spirituality, religion and the like and saw a book about the Buddha’s life. A biography… and the summary on the cover seemed to click for me… The Buddha was a human being, a man, who had everything.. He was a prince, with a Kingdom to be inherited, he had the best of food, clothes, jewellery, education…. Everything…He had a wife and child…. But he still had a deep longing in his heart.. he was not happy!! One day he saw a very old dying man and it made him think long and hard…. He decided to cut his princely hair, completely decorated with valuable jewels, and left home. His wife understood he had to go into the world and find what he sought, even though he knew he didn’t know what he was looking for! And, long story short… He figured ‘it’ out, became Enlightened and spent the next 50 years teaching The Way.
The story touched my heart. Although I was far from a prince, I could relate to his story, and so my journey into Buddhism began. Throughout my teenage years and into my 20’s I kept a journal, and I wrote and wrote and wrote! The things I wrote about seemed to mirror many of the things I starting discovering about Buddhism, so this fuelled my fire. I knew I was on to something special, intimate and full of love.
Since then, I have gotten married and started a family. I have moved from America to England, went back to college again and received my Masters in Radiation and Environmental Protection, with honors and this is where I am now. A Buddhist New Yorker living in England making sure people and the environment are safe when using x-rays and radioactive materials, with a wife who catches me when I fall and a son who, being just under 2 years old, already knows more about Zen than I do. The best teachers of the Way are the ones closest to you. I feel lucky, as the ones closest to me are wonderful, yet sometimes, some people who are close to you, are not so wonderful… yet it is still true that they are your best teachers of the Way. Sometimes we need strong medicine, and most medicines taste awful. This is why a Zen Master once said “A bad situation is a good situation”. The Universe is our friend, our ally, and always is filled with deep love. In this blog, I plan to talk about Buddhism, but also just about life, taking in other religions, other faiths, and lots of science. I will talk about my adventures over the years, and misadventures… and the Truth they yielded. The Way is about deep faith, and the Truth fuels this faith. Truth is everywhere, so faith is boundless.