Twenty years has past since I first encountered mindfulness and Buddhism, and I’ve had varying degrees of success both as a mindfulness practitioner and as a Buddhist. Many times I have found myself in the middle of a paradox between gratitude and disappointment. Being tremendously grateful for the tools and practices I was taught, while at the same time disappointed for the amount of work I had to do in order feel some degree of contentment within my life. As a recovering addict and a survivor of complex trauma I’ve lived most of my life with symptoms of PTSD, ADD, hyper-vigilance, and many unconscious denial strategies that come with trauma and addiction.
Like so many of us, I have suffered a lot. At the age of eleven, my older sister was killed in a car accident on the way to school. Nobody ever really talked to me about that. When I was nineteen, my girlfriend and I were walking together when we and were hit by a drunk driver. She was killed on impact, leaving me behind to discover the body. While living in Amsterdam at twenty-eight, I found myself strung out on alcohol and other drugs, sex, and prostitution. I had fulfilled my life’s dream of rock and roll stardom only to witness it all come crashing down. Heartbroken and disappointed, I headed back home to live at mom and dad’s.
After five successful years of diligently working the Twelve Steps, I had built a home, a business, and married a girl who was also in recovery. I found myself living the good life that we hear about in recovery rooms. After relocating to Nashville TN, my wife relapsed, told me she didn’t love me anymore, and moved out. I was devastated. Five years later she was murdered. The case is still unsolved. During that time I turned to mindfulness practice with a vengeance. I also found refuge and safety within twelve-step communities. I have spent the last six years working with youth and adults in addiction treatment and prison-system environments. I began teaching mindfulness tools that I had learned and shared my experience with those who were open to a message of possibilities and inner freedom.
Mindfulness meditation has saved my life on more than one occasion. Nevertheless, mindfulness practice alone has been unable to heal the entirety of my suffering. As I have been able to find a degree of ease and contentment within my own mind, my heart continues to ache. The development of ethics and heart practice meditations have become the fertile ground in which my heart is healing. Buddhism provides detailed instructions for a way of life that supports ethics and mindfulness. It has taught me how to respond to the ups and downs of life without creating unnecessary suffering and helped me meet the ongoing demands of the human experience with kindness, empathy, and discernment. I’ve dedicated my life’s energy to the Buddhist path and am happy to report that I am learning to live well and I find true happiness in the simplest of things.
My intention with this eBook is to help you to be able to do the same. The strategies for this transformation are three-fold: using the core teachings of Buddhism as a map to understand the nature of the territory we all must navigate; developing mindfulness as the vehicle for training and understanding the mind; and learning to access and liberate our hearts through the cultivation of ethics.
The practice of Ethical Mindfulness is available to all who are interested, and it doesn’t require you to believe or accept anything on blind faith. The ideas, tools and practices found here belong to all who are searching for true happiness and well-being. Toward this process, I offer definitions of our two key concepts.
Ethical: The development and maintenance of intentions that hold non-harming of self and others as a core foundational value.
Mindfulness: The ability to objectively monitor the arising and passing of thoughts, emotions, and sensations, within the framework of present-time awareness.
To purchase David's e-book, click here: http://amzn.to/1JlYt1r