On The Mystic’s Path: Part Three

A lot of my youth was spent waiting for something to happen.

I believed I would transform or evolve or something. In a way, I suppose you could say that I was right. When I was a kid I thought I might turn into an angel or a psychic.

I fought the path to Awakening instead. I hadn’t heard of anything like the path to Awakening, so in my mind I thought of it in different ways. But, I think deep down it was always the path to Awakening, the mystic’s path, that I was thinking of.

I sometimes imagined I would step through a doorway and enter another world. A pure land of wonder. But, the truth was I didn’t need to look for a pure land of wonder, because I’m already in one. And so are you.

Anyway, by the time I started college I felt alone in the universe. I had lost both my parents to cancer. My only sibling, my brother, and I were never really close.

It was in this context that I discovered Buddhism. I read two books for this course. They were “Buddha” by Karen Armstrong and “Meditation in Action” by Chogyam Trungpa.

It was like something clicked in me. I’m not sure why it resonated with me so much. One of my teachers says he thinks it’s related to karma from previous lives. I’m not sold on that idea.

I didn’t think I should become a Buddhist right away. That thought didn’t really enter my mind then. I just thought about learning more. Part of what I learned was that meditation is sometimes used to manage anxiety.

I had anxiety problems, so I decided to try it. I started getting books on meditation and studying. I read a lot on the subject and I started doing it. I found that I was pretty good at it. I could sit and work with my mind really well. I had a natural aptitude for the practice.

Now I think it was because I was probably supposed to be a mystic the whole time.


About Daniel Scharpenburg

Daniel Scharpenburg lives in Kansas City with two kids and two cats. He runs the Monday Night Zen Group at the Rime Buddhist Center. Daniel has a BA in English from KU and he works for the federal government. Once a Novice Monk in the Rinzai Tradition, he dropped out of monk school to become a regular person. He has taken his inspiration mainly from Zen renegades and madmen like Ikkyu and Han Shan. Daniel has taken Bodhisattva Vows in both the Nagarjuna and Asanga lineages. He is a frequent guest teacher on Daily Dharma Gathering.

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