For anyone who came to the Abbey more recently, I was ordained with Daizui and Shiko, and remained at the Abbey for 14 years. Some very helpful things happened there, including a kensho. After my departure, I underwent a couple years of therapy to help clear out old emotional pain which I was surprised to discover had not only not been healed by my time at the Abbey but in some ways was added to. Then my spiritual journey really took off.
I had decided to test everything I had been taught (like monks don't dance - definitely not true for me). The restrictions fell away, just leaving the awareness of meditation. I realized that my kensho was just the beginning, and there was still a separate experiencer. In my relentless questioning, the mind kept hitting a deadend and surrendering to what had always been there. All beliefs, concepts, and emotional residue have been falling away. I find that the emptiness of wisdom is often dropping into the heart broken open, with no one left to know anything. Yahoo!
I live a simple existence on the CA Central Coast (Cambria). My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org (I no longer go by Nancy). Many blessings to you all. - Amber Komei Larson