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A letter to Jacob – Wildmind

I get some attention-grabbing emails. Often they’re type and appreciative. I notably get pleasure from listening to from individuals who have discovered issues I’ve written, or guided meditations I’ve recorded, to be useful. Usually folks ask questions, and I’m comfortable to answer to them to one of the best of my capacity.

Typically the emails I get are crucial, although, and this one which arrived only a few days in the past falls into that camp.

It’s from somebody who known as himself Jacob, though I don’t know if that’s his actual title. I don’t know if it’s your actual title, I ought to say, since this weblog put up is my reply to you, Jacob. (You used a faux electronic mail tackle, so sadly I wasn’t in a position to tackle your feedback immediately.)

Right here’s the e-mail you despatched. You’ll discover my reply beneath:

Title: Jacob
Do your supporters know they’re in truth supporting your residing in a 400K rental, STEPHEN?
You might be hardly a Buddhist with a begging bowl, now are you? Until and till you make full disclosure on-line of this hithertofore undisclosed materials reality to these supporters you might be for my part being unethical.

Isn’t {that a} Buddhist no-no? Tis odd how you have got by no means talked about this earlier than…

[link to my apartment’s Zillow listing removed]

So, Jacob, you probably did your homework and tracked down my house on an actual property web site! Extra about that in a second.

And also you additionally discovered my household title, which was certainly Stephen till I legally modified my title after my ordination in 1993. In order that hasn’t been my final title for a very long time.

I imagine that is known as “deadnaming,” the place an individual insists on utilizing somebody’s former title. It’s like if a girl will get married and modifications her surname, but somebody insists on utilizing her maiden title. The purpose of doing that is to trigger offense by refusing to acknowledge one thing that’s essential to the opposite particular person. In order that’s not a superb begin, Jacob. You’re forgiven, although! This has occurred to me many instances, and it actually doesn’t trouble me.

Let’s get again to the home factor, although. Sure, you probably did your homework and regarded up my house tackle on-line.

Sadly you didn’t do your homework very totally. The explanation I’ve by no means talked about that I reside in a “$400k rental” is as a result of the tackle you linked to in your electronic mail is definitely the rented residence that I share with my accomplice.

You’d have seen that it was a rental residence in case you’d dug round a bit of extra within the Zillow itemizing.

Right here’s the related half. I’ve circled the place it mentions the hire. Slightly below that it makes use of the phrase “tenant.” I admit it’s a bit of complicated, because it additionally mentions “rental dues” for causes I can’t guess at, besides that my landlord’s secretary is a little bit of a personality and a bit of odd in the way in which she writes issues — possibly you may get a taste of that within the itemizing! She *loves* asterisks!! And exclamation marks!! It’s form of enjoyable!!

(It’s additionally odd that she says that the residence is obtainable August nineteenth. I’m assuming that is an previous itemizing, since we’re nonetheless residing right here!)


Anyway, no, I don’t reside in a $400,000 rental. I don’t personal a home. I can’t afford one at current.

I hire an residence with my accomplice. It’s not a luxurious residence: the hire is $1,765, together with a $50 payment for our two canines and a surcharge as a result of my children keep right here part-time. (Landlords, eh? They’ll get you for every thing!) We’d wish to personal our personal place sooner or later, in order that our canines can have a yard to run round in, and we’re attempting to avoid wasting for that. In fact I’ll be in my 90’s by the point the mortgage is paid off, if we are able to ever discover a place we are able to afford.

I mentioned our residence is just not a luxurious residence. It’s a good place to reside, though it’s not within the nicest a part of city. Till a few months in the past we had a few meth addicts residing downstairs from us. They weren’t an excessive amount of hassle besides when their cigarette smoke and weed got here up into our residence. Happily they didn’t burn the place down earlier than they left. I took a walk-through after they’d gone and whereas the residence was being gutted, and the carpets had been lined in cigarette burns. Oh, and canine shit from their pit bull! So, not a luxurious residence, and never in one of the best a part of city. Excellent news: our new downstairs neighbors are a beautiful younger couple!

It’s not the worst a part of city both, although. We’re proper beside some woods the place I wish to stroll the canines.

However even when I had lived in a $400k rental, what would that imply, Jacob? It may have been inherited. It may be my accomplice’s. I might need purchased it at a while in my life once I had a excessive paying job and now be residing in poverty. (Though there’s by no means a time I had a high-paying job.) I may be sleeping on the sofa in a good friend’s home. There are many potentialities one may contemplate.

Additionally, a minor level: within the space the place I reside, a $400,000 home is nicely beneath the median home sale worth of $550,000 (loopy, eh!), which is why I’m renting. So if I had owned this place it could be a below-average home in a reasonably working-class city.

You demanded that I “make full disclosure on-line of this hitherto-fore undisclosed materials reality,  Jacob. So right here it’s. I can’t disclose that I reside in an costly rental, as a result of I don’t. However I do disclose that I reside in a rented residence, splitting $1,765 of hire with my accomplice.

And no, I’m not a Buddhist monk with a begging bowl. (Though I’m a Buddhist.) I’ve two adopted youngsters and two rescue canines, and (as talked about) a accomplice. I’m not wealthy, both. I just lately purchased a five-year-old Prius C (a hybrid electrical/gasoline automobile) that I bought from a good friend at a superb worth. It’s changed my earlier automobile, a 12-year-old Mazda6, which I purchased used eight years in the past, and which has 216,000 miles on the clock — most of them from the earlier proprietor, who did a lot of driving. I’ve just about no financial savings as a result of I simply gave them to the good friend who bought me the Prius. (By the way in which, I’m completely loving the gasoline financial system and I’m glad to know that my carbon footprint has shrunk.) Oh, I’ve no pension plan both.

I mainly simply scrape by, and infrequently expertise anxiousness as a result of I’ve to juggle payments. So it’s form of ironic to be accused of being rich.

Aside from three years in Scotland once I labored for the Neighborhood Schooling Division in Lanarkshire, I’ve spent my whole grownup life both as a scholar or working full-time to show meditation and Buddhism. It’s not a profitable approach to make a residing. After I ran a retreat middle within the Scottish Highlands, or an city Buddhist middle in Edinburgh, or labored in a Buddhist proper livelihood enterprise I mainly bought my meals and board lined, plus some pocket cash. Issues are higher now, however it’s nonetheless usually a battle to get by. It’s been value it, although. Despite the fact that I don’t have any financial savings and can most likely by no means be capable of retire, I get pleasure from what I do. I particularly discover it heart-warming to know that I’ve helped folks change into happier.

Anyway, It’s very simple to leap to conclusions, Jacob. We’ve all performed it. For those who’d simply requested a query and given an actual electronic mail tackle, I’d have been comfortable to answer with the knowledge you had been searching for. I think about that you’ve got considerations about “gurus” making huge sums of cash, and there are good historic causes for having these considerations. However imagine me, that’s not my scenario within the slightest.

Hopefully this has set your thoughts comfortable, in case you’re studying this. I hate to suppose that you just’re on the market struggling since you mistakenly imagine I’m some form of wealthy guru. And possibly different folks suppose the identical factor?

Cash is difficult if you educate meditation. A lot of the time prior to now I’ve taught programs that had prompt donations, with loads of leeway for individuals who couldn’t afford the complete quantity. Proper now the majority of the revenue that pays my hire and payments comes from month-to-month contributions from supporters. These are individuals who recognize the educating I do, and who pay a sum every month to Wildmind (the quantity varies from individual to individual) to make it attainable for me to discover and educate meditation. That is what I do full time. Being supported in that manner is my dream!

Sadly the quantity that is available in from supporters isn’t sufficient to cowl my bills, so I’ve to do different bits and items of labor so as to make ends meet. I do lengthy for the day once I not have to fret about cash. (And I’d love my canines to have a yard to run round in.)

So in case you’re studying this, Jacob, and I haven’t irritated you an excessive amount of (that’s not my intention in any respect), and also you see some worth in what I educate, do be at liberty to think about turning into one in every of Wildmind’s supporters. I recognize all of the help I obtain, as a result of it permits me to do what I like, which is to show meditation and assist folks reside happier and extra fulfilling lives. If you’re , you may click on on this hyperlink.

I hope you’re having an amazing day, Jacob — and anybody else who’s learn this far.

With love,

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