Leonard '17

Before coming to Putney, art was my sole focus. I used to spend hours a day creating these pen and ink drawings. But there are so many things to try here that I stopped focusing so much on drawing. You get time and space to explore new things.

I’ve always been interested in philosophy, but I didn’t have the tools to go more deeply into various practices. I’ve really connected with Nathan, who teaches existentialism, ethics, and other English classes. Last fall, I read some of the Upanishads. During the spring Project Week, I compared interpretations of the Christian Bible between scholars and saints. But, to really understand the essays written by saints, I had to look at mystical practices as well. This drew me into the relations among many religions, and the Bible looked really different through those lenses.

For another Project Week, I spent two days in a room without any books or other distractions. I wrote about what happened to my mind during that time. I found that when you spend time alone your identity is distilled.

In connection with that work, I’ve explored mindfulness and meditation, specifically an ancient form of yoga called Kriya. I went on a Putney trip to India and have become very interested in the process of mental and spiritual development.

Next year, I hope to spend a trimester in Nicaragua. Eventually, after college, I’d like to live in a monastery and practice yoga. What is the path to a successful life? Eventually, we have to notice that the search for external fulfillment always ends in loss. A successful life means finding true love, peace, and joy within one's very self.

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