Coming to the path

It may be obvious from looking around here but I am a Zen practitioner. Have been for a long time. I played around with it starting around my junior year of college. Wasn't that serious about it until my first 7 day silent retreat, or sesshin in December 2006. The experience of that sesshin changed my life forever and solidified my commitment to Zen practice. I wish I could convey in words what was so profound about it, but it can't be said in words. It's like trying to describe to someone what an orange tastes like; it will never come close to the real experience.

Fast forward 13 years and I am still on the path living at a Zen monestary. Recently during a program at the center, discussion came up about what brought us to the path of Zen. This question set off a powerful chain reaction of thoughts about things that had happened to me to push me in this direction. I decided that I should write out in a page or two my path to Zen. This decision is in fact what finalized my choice to buy the extended version of SN. I paid for my subscription, got all set up to start writing and decided to begin with the very beginning, my earliest memories. As soon as I started really thinking about my early childhood, my writing exercise took a sharp left turn. It was as if something overflowed out of me. I wrote feverishly for a long time about my father. Memory after memory, all significant and important that I get down, came pouring out. I finished writing about him and immediately started in on my mother and then other important people and events in my life.

Fast forward another two months and the tag I created in SN called "Coming to Zen" to tell my story of finding practice has a lot of entires in it. I don't think any of them even mention Zen. I've strayed so far from the original purpose that my mind has already repurposed the term "Coming to Zen" in SN to being my memoir. No doubt these stories and memories laid the path for my Zen practice so it's not really wrong, it's just that the intent has drifted from focusing on how these events relate to Zen to documenting things that were significant in my life; things that made me, me. But if I ever have a reason to write a real memoir, one I would intend for people to read, and assuming there would be an audience who would care to read it, I will feel compelled to call it "Coming to Zen".

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