My initial impetus was self-centred. I was tired of how out of date my old website felt. Sure that site had served its purpose well at one point. It was now more than ten years old, however; much had changed. Even after considerable revamp and alteration, the old neilmckinlay.com – with its swimming-oriented background and its broad, careful language – no longer reflected what I was doing.
I wanted a website that more faithfully communicated what’s on offer here. I wanted words that articulated something about the practice and path of somatic meditation. I wanted a look that conveyed the openness of these practices, that embodied the Pacific Northwest landscape within which I live and work. I wanted a site that transmitted a clear sense of the lineage holding everything I do.
This site started with all of this in mind.
And for the first while this line of thought continued. For the initial few weeks, at least, this project continued to unfold under the direction of the relatively self-oriented motives noted above. My primary reference point in making choices and decisions, in other words, was ‘I’. ‘What do I think?’ ‘What do I want?’ ‘What do I believe is needed?’ These were the landmarks I kept returning to, the landmarks that helped me find my way.
Soon, however, something began to shift.
This was first noticed while working on the Home page. ‘How does this welcome folks?’ was the question that arose. ‘What might people feel looking at this?’ These inquiries opened a floodgate. As we moved deeper into this site, the landmarks guiding the way became of another quality altogether. ‘Does this clearly convey our work?’ ‘Are guests given a good sense of this tradition?’ ‘How might people best be linked to the greater Dharma Ocean community?’
Again and again such matters came forward. As they did – as they were engaged and explored – something became plainly apparent. While certainly this new website was initially inspired by relatively self-centred motives, the truth of its creation lay in something greater, something much more expansive.
Echoing all Buddhist traditions I am aware of, in the Dharma Ocean lineage it is understood this work we do – our practice, our study, our efforts to support and encourage these – is not done for one’s own benefit. Reflecting the vastness of our nature and the depth of our shared intimacy, it is understood this work is actually engaged for the benefit of all beings.
The ‘Dedication of Merit’, a chant recited toward day’s end, reminds us of this quite explicitly. “Whatever goodness my practice has brought,” the liturgy begins, “I dedicate to all those who suffer.”
This website offers a similar reminder. While I do hope it communicates and articulates, conveys and reflects the work I do with some fidelity, at a deeper level this site is really about the work we all do together. This is as true for the person who comes here simply to take a quick look as it is for one whose life energies have begun to orient around this lineage. This site is about the work we do together.
With this in mind, may this website clarify for all of us the journey of somatic meditation. May this site deepen our exploration of the Dharma Ocean lineage. May it enrich our passion and yearning for life as it is. May this site offer something for everyone who ventures here. May this be of benefit to all.