John Evan’sVeterans Questionaire
- What year/how old were you when you joined the military?
I joined in 2002. I entered the delayed entry program while I was still in high school. So technically I was 17 years old.
- Why did you enlist in your branch of service?
I chose the army because my sister had joined actually a year before me. And we had a cousin who joined a year before her. And they were both talking about what a great time they were having in Hawaii working at Tripler Army Hospital. I thought that it sounded like a good time. So, I join the army and became a medic.
- How many years did you serve and what unit/units?
I served on active duty for four years. I was with the 3rd armored cavalry regiment. Support squadron medical troop. I was in both treatment and ambulance platoons. We provided overall medical support for the entire squadron. Setting up field aid stations and providing ground evacuation.
- Which practice forms (sitting, walking, working, eating, or deep listening and mindful speech) have been important and supportive in your daily life?
I would say all of them. Anywhere I can integrate these practices into my life, the better off I find I am. Slowing down, connecting with my breath and detaching from my ironclad beliefs, the happier I am. The less time I can spend listening to my own thoughts as if they were true, the better off I am.
- What drew you to Zen practice?
I had just come home from the army back in 2006. I was taking a positive psychology class. I was wearing my “unwellness” and my professor walked up to me and handed me a book. And he said, “Just read it”. The book was titled At Hell’s Gate. I can remember being absolutely struck by the testimony and relaying of AnShin’s experiences. I thought to myself what an incredible transformation. I was so conflicted with my participation in the Iraq war and the narrative that had brought the US military forces into that conflict. I couldn't seem to make sense of anything. The idea of resolutely looking at the seeds of violence in the futility of war was the only direction that seemed to make sense.
- How does Zen Practice influence your daily life?
By slowing down I can appreciate the beauty in mystery of life. Finding joy in the simplest of things.
- What does it mean to you to be a part of this practice community?
Being as new as I am to this community with what I would say is sporadic participation at least in the formal settings, it is hard for me to say. But what I will say is that I believe that the work Zaltho is doing is vitally important to the preservation of the human species.
- Who is/was the most inspirational person in your life and why?
I would have to say my grandmother. She passed away in September 2020. She truly was an inspiration to me. Coming from a rather dysfunctional home and upbringing, she was the only model of service in my life. She dedicated her entire life to the service of others. She worked during the 70s and 80s to build programming in upstate New York to help place individuals with mental and physical disabilities into the workforce. She advocated for those who could not advocate for themselves. She loved deeply and without conditions. If it hadn't been for her, I'm not exactly sure where I would have ended up.
- What did you want to be when you were a child?
Sadly, I don't really recall.
- What one word would you use to describe your Zen practice?