In June of 2010 I realized that I was tired of living the way that I had been. I weighed 330 pounds, I was depressed and feeling hopeless and powerless to change. In the first six months of the year I had begun to abandon my Christian faith as I came to the realization that I could not believe in or follow the God of Christianity/Judaism. There were a number of reasons for this but one of the main factors was my realization that, for me, the experiences I had were almost always a psychological reaction to external influences. There are many people who claim to have deep and meaningful experiences and sense the presence of God in their lives but this is something that I had never really felt in my heart. I had spent countless hours of my life in prayer and studying the Bible. In fact, I had a degree in religion from a mainstream Christian denomination college. I had been prepared to become a pastor at one point in my life but chose not to go to seminary after completing my degree in the mid-90’s because even then I was experiencing serious concerns about God’s presence in my life and his influence in the world.
I told my wife about my depression and my feelings of hopelessness as I realized that I was quickly headed toward high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, breathing problems, joint problems and the many other complications that come from being obese. I was convinced that I would die at an early age because of my weight and I was OK with this until that moment in June. She suggested that I read the book Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Thich Nhat Hanh. As I read this wonderful book with its reasurrences that through the practice of mindfulness I could find a way to a healthy weight and a more active, healthy lifestyle I began to realize that Buddhism presented a practical and realistic approach to ending my suffering. I began to practice mindfulness and to be aware of what I was putting into my body and mind and how I was relating to those around me.
I went to the Dr. for the first time in a few years to assess just how bad the damage was. My blood pressure was high, but not high enough to be treated with medication. My weight was alarmingly out of control but I was aware of the risks of this. I have sleep apnea due to the excess weight and need to continue treatment for that with a CPAP machine. I spoke with him about my feelings and he accurately diagnosed the depression that I was struggling with and I have begun to treat that depression with medication. At the same time, I began attending practice sessions at a Zen Center near my home and have been deeply moved by the experience. For the first time in years, I have truly felt peace and calmness in my life. I am learning to embrace my suffering and to confront it with a loving and compassionate heart.
As I continue to explore Buddhism and to grow in my practice, I hope to record my thoughts and experiences here along with updates on my progression toward living a more healthy lifestyle. Please join me in my journey and grow with me in my new endeavors.