Morning Chanting at Willow This week, we’ve opened up our zendo doors to the online public during our morning period […]
During my mostly-nomadic year in 2018, I began to entertain the idea of buying a small cabin in the woods as a little escape for myself when I wanted to get away from city life and travel. As this idea began to grow, I realized that I could perhaps even buy something larger, a space I could live in full-time and welcome others into – after all, I had gotten so accustomed to “living on the internet” during my year of travel that living a few hours outside of Toronto didn’t really seem like such a hassle.
After my two-month stay at MAPLE in 2019, that plan began to shift slightly. MAPLE has plans to grow exponentially (doubling their centres every 5 years), and I really wished that a branch could exist near Toronto, where so much of my life and my communities are. Then I realized that I could do something about that.
After spending a little over two months living at the Monastic Academy, I came back home to Toronto in early March of 2019.
I feel like I could tell two completely different stories about that year, and both would be equally true.
In many ways it was the most difficult and painful year of my life. I’d had just enough time at the academy to start scratching the surface of unravelling the madness of my mind and my patterns, and then decided to go back out to my “normal” life, where I didn’t have the same supports to continue the deconstruction that I had started. And yet, having seen how necessary the deconstruction was, going blindly back to my familiar patterns and habits felt impossible.
After my first visit to the Monastic Academy (MAPLE), I continued living my life as normal — working at software startups, traveling to conferences, partying with friends, advancing my career. And as the next few years went by, I found myself going back to MAPLE every once in a while – sometimes for a few days, sometimes for a week. Something strange and intriguing was happening there, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Every time I left, there was a feeling of leaving something precious.
Ten years ago, I was a recent graduate of Computer Science and Psychology, excited to be stepping into the immense world of software.
Five years ago, I was deeply embedded in the software startup life, spending nearly all my time coding or going to tech-related meetups.
Two years ago, I was leading a team of software engineers at a cryptocurrency company in the adult entertainment industry.
Today, I run a modern Buddhist training center.