Journey of Luis
I spent 15 years with uncertainty about and searching for 1) purpose of life and 2) how to 'best' live life. Exploring the world of friendships, education (B. Eng.), cultures (25+ countries), sports (tennis, bodybuilding) and jobs, none left me satisfied.
Regarding 1): During a reflective camper-van trip through Tasmania, I came to the realization that morality - and my understanding of it: minimizing suffering and maximizing pleasure for all sentience - is the objective purpose of life.
With a remaining unpleasant uncertainty about 2) I started to explore the contemplative world for the next two years in South East Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal).
My trip started with a 10 day silent retreat in the Goenka tradition. During these 10 days, observing the mind & body, it (#2) dawned on me:
- There is a fundamental system intrinsic to our experience e.g., our thoughts, emotions, perceptions or happiness & suffering. One can become skilful within this system.
This satisfied my uncertainty about 2) 'how to best live life'
After doing some more retreats in the same tradition I explored the tradition&practices of Pa Auk Sayadaw. The 3 months I spent in the forest monastery in Myanmar, living side by side with monks and fellow lay-practitioner was a special time.
Getting to have a closer look at the personalities of the monk-community, establishing a mindful routine in a conducive environment and occasionally reflecting upon 'objective' morality and 'buddhist' morality best describe my time there.
Still to come was the most intense & most beneficial period of my practice so far, in Nepal. Especially one longer retreat (~6 months) allowed me integrate the practice i.e., make it a natural part of me.
I benefited immensely from observing my body and mind, however my attitude while doing so was partly characterized by forcing and resisting to what I am experiencing. This, especially in intense retreat, accumulates in bad habits, which caused me a lot of discomfort. I weakened those habits, but they are still not completely gone. With this, I have learned a most valuable lesson - to be gentle.
Understandably, my long-distance relationship started to deteriorate to the point of deciding whether to continue or not.. hence after spending around 1 year in retreat environment, I returned to 'daily life' and reunite.
Returning and being confronted with responsibilities, non-like minded, I realized that my skills developed in conducive meditation environments didn't work as much as I had hoped. Hence, this year focused on how to use mindfulnes in daily life.
I recognized that the bad habits I developed were due to having a lack of clear guidance, hence I started taking private lessons from Stephen Procter, founder of MIDL. I am very grateful for his guidance and have since seen a big change in my 'gentle' approach to self-development (prior rather forceful) and well-being.
Desiring to share the skills I learned that were responsible for me to find 2) 'how to best live life' as well as improve my well-being, i did a teacher training course in the UM System, founded by Shinzen Young.
With a now more-relaxed and wise attitude, I continue to learn and practice of how to most effectively improve well-being.
MIDL is currently my main practice.