Ronnie, 66, a retired catering worker.
I decided, a few years ago, that I wanted to do something in the community and abob offers me that. Doing something meaningful to help society is also an important part of how I see Buddhism – it shouldn’t simply be an inward-looking process.
What brought you to the Eastbourne group?
I’m from Glasgow but moved down south, to Brighton, and then to Seaford. A couple of friends who were in the same Buddhist group as me had got involved and came back talking about it, so I thought I’d better find out for myself. I haven’t looked back since!
How did you find your BtH weekend?
I found it a real revelation that I was with other men where I was full able to be myself and not feel judged or out of place. I did a particular piece of work with the group which affected me deeply, in a very positive way. The weekend really helped me let go of some stuff that I’d been carrying around for a long time.
How has abob affected your life?
I never had a good relationship with my father, but thanks to abob and my Buddhist practise I’ve been able to develop a much better relationship with my own son. One of the most important things I’ve learned in abob is the value of simply listening. Being able to listen to my son, without always jumping in with my own judgments, has helped him trust me and open up, which is fantastic. Overall, the experience of abob has helped me feel like a more whole human being.
What’s been our experience of being a mentor?
Early on I was talking to an experienced ABOB man about what it’s like to be a mentor and he said to expect plenty of disappointments and the occasional ray of sunshine. That’s been my experience, but the glimmers of sunshine make the disappointments worth it and I’ve learned the importance of perseverance and not being attached to particular outcomes.