Hello all, I'm D.T. from NW Missouri.
I've taken a long leave of absence from sitting and studying, but I believe it's high time that I at least make an effort to get back on the path I veered from.
About five years ago, I met an awesome gal, who I'm still with btw, but with that relationship came a disinterest in Buddhism. Some of it had to do with feeling odd about maintaining a practice while in a serious relationship (even though she's cool with it and has an interest in it herself), and I'm not sure what else happened... haven't really analyzed the situation. Long story short, she moved in, my books went on the shelf, and my cushion served as extra cushion for an outdated office chair.
We're expecting a child soon, which is part of the reason I want to get back to it. It seems that I've lost a fair amount of ability were awareness of speech, thought, and action is concerned. I don't want to be a bad influence on my child, I don't want to unconsciously pass on bad habits/attitudes/etc. Also, I've become quite addicted to alcohol, just as I was before I'd encountered Buddhism. I fully credit meditation, and a host of Buddhist authors/text, with giving me the ability to handle cravings and attachment. So, here's to lightning striking twice!
A little disclosure:
I've never considered myself a Buddhist. I've never taken vows or officially taken refuge, I've attended the Sangha 4-5 times at best. I don't believe there's such a thing as reincarnation, or enlightenment. I find rituals and chanting to be... well, not for me. I never delved too deeply into the Suttas.
For me, it's been more about having the clearest possible perception of reality, to have the ability to be more than a puppet controlled by a wild mind which is not even aware of the things it's being conditioned by, and to have a 'system' of morals and ethics which doesn't require dogmatic beliefs. Yeah... that sounds about right.
Anyhow, nice to meet you all, and I'm looking forward to future discussions.