With Kindly Curiosity: Gavin Milne
Gavin Milne leads a retreat at The Barn in November called Your Life As Your Path
He has been practising Insight Meditation since 2004, including extended periods of retreat in Asia and the USA.
He is currently training to be a Dharma Teacher (under the guidance of Yanai Postelnik), and is particularly interested in exploring practice wherever we find ourselves - everything from family life to responding to the wider challenges of our era.
How did you come to dharma practice?
I guess the short answer is suffering! I had been experiencing a lot of unexpected stress in the career path I'd chosen, and was coming to realise that my inner landscape and relationship to work might be more significant than anything I could change externally. I didn't know much about meditation, but had heard the word before, so I bought a book which also introduced me to the Buddhist path.
Tell us about a book that's inspired you
There are many, but the one that comes to mind is this first book that I bought!: 'Mindfulness in Plain English' by Bhante Gunaratana. I read it again recently, and took a lot from it - especially the chapter on Attitude. Part of the challenge in practice I think is accessing and re-accessing a 'beginners mind' that doesn't confuse the practical nature of the teachings with the profoundness and aliveness of what they bring forth within us. Bhante's clarity and freshness about these timeless teachings communicate this I think.
What does your daily practice look like?
Some quiet meditative time each day, and some study/reading, but not necessarily long periods of formal meditation. Currently the common thread is seeking to bring practice into all areas of life. To support this I also do an inquiry practice from a different tradition - a bit like meditation out loud, with one person speaking and another listening mindfully.
Who or what is inspiring you currently?
Right now, the western monk Ajahn Sumedho. Listening to a talk of his recently I was touched again by his kindness and - I suppose - normalness, given the challenges of his own journey. When I sat a retreat with him a few years ago, I remember being surprised how spacious and permissive his teachings were. As someone 'keen to do it right', it was a great reassurance, and I feel like the wisdom of his approach has become clearer to me as the years have gone by.