I am Jason.
I am 33.
Father of 2 boys.
Canadian from BC in the mountains away from cities.
University Educated in Visual Art and Geography.
Big changes in life (but I characterize it all positively).
My personal path to Buddhism was out of practicality I began using ethics and principles I picked up from various sources on Buddhism.
I had no school of thought or tradition to follow. Just an approach of gleaning the most clear and understandable parts and using them to relearn how to behave since my current or old method wasn't working so well for me. I was tuck in a destructive and toxic marriage and my children were suffering because I lacked the skills to end the cycle. It was getting worse.
I had been using mindful breathing as a stress relief for many years and I decided to renew my interest in Buddhism because this small part was so helpful. I began practicing mindful activities as a way to clarify my thoughts and ask my neutral self the answers to my hardest questions. I extracted myself from the toxic garden and have begun to plant a new positive garden. This re-awakening was entirely brought about by Buddhist ethics. As deference to the path that has served me so well I now call myself Buddhist. As respect for the teachings I have decided to seek a tradition to ground my self. The current focus of my attention is Tibetan Buddhism and the Dali Lama.
I had been considering his compassionate focus for some time, but I was recently directed that way by some helpful people. I appreciate suggestions and even criticism of my approach. I think I need some direction. self motivation is not a problem, but knowing where to point an arrow is as important as drawing the bowstring.
Significantly I have been trying to understand the emotional aspect of thought and how it its with the Buddhist tradition of non-ego and anattma. I had developed a personal set of ethics around right words and right actions based on right concentration (thought) which I see leading to right emotions (joy bliss peacefulness etc). This leading to the element of good karma. I think my personal path might include emotions as a way of recognizing that emotional states affect my outcomes. I think this is very much like we discuss conquering or deconstructing emotions with right concentration and understanding the Dharma.
I have also been doing Yoga lately. The practice of which is intended to teach my body to meditate. Also to encourage the state of mindfulness through other forms than simply mindful breath (which is a good starting point anyway). I tend to do some Yoga, get peaceful and limber, then sit down for some mindful concentration. I think this works really well for me. As a seeker of this kind of tie and physical space to locate peace in my mind I realize it isn't all necessarily the only way to meditate but I enjoy my "Zen" (I use that in the most respectful way, but western understanding) space. I seek peace in life in general. I have always been a pacifist, but this desire for a harmonious space has caused me to develop a large area of my home devoted to meditation and contemplation. I guess buddhism is a desired or necessary thing for me now. Like one desires to be free form suffering - I desire to be filled with light.
I was asked by a mother on here how my children respond to meditation (mine) because she found it hard to incorporate mindfulness and daily life. My children find this all entertaining and not the least bit disruptive to them. On the contrary I find they enjoy sitting and meditating with me. They do not find it easy to sit still but I think any time devoted to quiet at 6 and 8 years old is impressive, especially for wild monkey boys. :-) I also think the practice of encouraging peacefulness and a space devoted to simplicity and harmony in my home is helpful to them to learn about a tidy mind space as well. I encourage them to come and go if I am practicing or if i am attending to my fish etc. They simply are allowed to be children with the restriction that they pass through that space with respect to the quiet and peaceful nature it has. What I especially find "joyful" is that they will pile on my lap as I sit in mindful relaxation and they take the serenity I have and it becomes part of them. I do not expect to be able to meditate perfectly EVER so I think any time spent in practice is time well spent even if there is disruption. Disruption will happen, suffering over it is hardly necessary!
Further to my children: If asked which place they find easier and happier, this new home or the alternative (with mom) - they are quick to say it is the new way with a quiet and peaceful dad. The boys are shared custody and live with me one week on and one week off. It is hard for them, but considering the way it was before, I am glad they have a week of harmony and a week without so much discord. There are many ways to be a good parent - but i think providing a confident and ethical approach to dealing with frustrations they are learning some skills I wish I had at younger age.
So... This is me - at this point - in all honesty.
glad to take suggestions or questions.