The following interview was done with the fabulous TMcG (Tanya McGinnity) from the blog Full Contact Enlightenment. I’d give you a description and all that jazz, but the point to this round of the Article Swap is to get to know those in the blogosphere a little better. So without further ado…
PM: The most cookie-cutter of all questions, what and or how, did you get into Buddhism and meditation?
TMcG: I always felt that I was messed up from my first breath. I came out feet first and much too early. I grew into a short, nervous kid with thick glasses, buck teeth and divorced parents – all things that don’t bode well for an easy life.
As many ‘disaffected youth’ of my generation, I was seeking to escape from suffering in every way I could and never really came up with anything that could comfort me for any length of time. In university, through a philosophy class, I picked up a copy of “Siddhartha” and it blew my mind. Something just clicked and I felt like I had to dig deeper and investigate further. So many times, things fell apart in my life and I always looked outwards for the solution. So many times, I saw how I made things more complicated and more difficult by clinging, grasping or resisting and fighting. With Buddhism, it has a very non-bullshit approach for me to work on cleaning up my messes and not making things worse for myself – or others. It really helps me to better figure myself out and certainly provided me with a greater sense of responsibility and compassion – for both others as well as myself.
After university, I joined the Halifax Shambhala Centre where I set up a regular practice and became a bit more formally involved with Buddhism. After moving to Montreal, I continued with the local Shambhala group until discovering Nalandabodhi – the spiritual organization founded by Ponlop Rinpoche which has been my main study group for the past 4 years and where I’ve started to provide meditation instruction in the community.