Welcome to Practice comes first

The roof top of the oldest Buddhist center in the West, The San Francisco Zen Center

I haven’t had the stomach to write much outside of my day job for a few years now, but my appetite has returned.

Four years ago, choking on student and credit card debt, I took up a daily meditation practice. A few months later I withdrew from my Ph.D. program. Then I started working closely with an experienced meditation teacher and found a new contract job working at a tech company as a writer/jack-of-all-trades. All the while I’d started doing silent meditation retreats for a few weeks a year. Last year I left that company and found a new job as a full-time writer, earning a modest income with benefits–the most I’ve ever made in my life.

This snapshot is a small example of the scale of change which meditation practice has catalyzed in my relationship to life. The degree of change I’ve experienced in my career has been mirrored across the board: fitness, relationships, personal development, you name it.

The purpose of this blog is to tease apart and then weave together the ideas I’ve been studying and practices I’ve been experimenting with in the laboratory of my life.

At the heart of all of this is my encounter with the dharma–the Buddhist teachings and methods which through wholehearted practice have helped give my life structure, discipline, and purpose. I aim to share my experiences here to hone my writing abilities, clarify my thinking, and commune with chaos.

Aside from Buddhism, the two other primary sources that have consumed most of my free time over the past year are the teachings of a local (and now infamous) professor of psychology Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, and the anonymous posts, tweets, and books of men and women in the ‘red pill’ community. I’m not going to spend much time explaining what that is now (yes, it’s a Matrix reference). If you’re that interested, you can figure it out on your own, or stay tuned for my version of it.

Eventually, I will publish a list of the books, blogs, twitter accounts, and subreddits that I’ve read, followed and posted in. I’ll write about how I’ve used these sources, in what ways they have made an impact on my life, and how they have helped me better connect with my masculinity and the women in my life.

It may seem like an odd mix of ideas to throw together, but I am not so sure it is. I’ve given expression to the resonance of these perspectives in my life, through action and practice, and I have to say the harmony has been magnificent.

Both Peterson and the red pill community tend to attract a lot of criticism from the general population and the media. There may be people in my life (and online) who read this, and who won’t agree with what I have to say. And that’s ok.

I’m not hiding behind anonymity. I know what I’m doing and I’m doing it openly. I have altruistic intentions and I’m open to discussion. I am a guy from Toronto trying to sort himself out, take responsibility for his life and pay forward whatever valuable lessons he’s learned to others. As a Buddhist, I look at this intention as my bodhisattva vow. More on that to come.

There is a good chance that publishing this blog is going to be difficult, in fact, it has already been. Six months have passed since admitting that I needed to start writing for myself. Six months of internal tension and urgency to summon the nerve to wiggle my bloody fingers over the keyboard in a coherent pattern. So I’m starting. Of all the challenges I’ve overcome in the past four years, each has left me stronger, more connected to myself and others, and more fulfilled than I’d ever thought possible. It’s been a wild adventure, and I’m just getting started.

–Matthew

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