30 Days Since Leaving The Center

I left the center 30 days ago with a very specific goal: Establish Vipassana into my daily life in a positive way. I want express what has worked and what has not.

I’ve completed all of my daily sittings. That’s one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening every day. I’ve attended every group sitting I could, around 3 a week, and that’s helped tremendously. Half of those sittings are with meditators of different traditions but I’ve still found that to be helpful.

I’ve worked diligently to connect with Goenka taught Vipassana meditators. Reaching out to groups hasn’t worked well but reaching out to individuals has. It’s all about building personal relationships with people on the same path. These connections have helped me feel normal and confident. While all dhamma friendships are helpful, it’s the people with similar backgrounds and at similar points in their lives that really foster the productive conversations about how to overcome specific obstacles.

Being patient and accepting of boredom has been critical. It takes time to build relationships. That makes sense. Being willing to stay in on a Friday night so I’m not tempted by activities that don’t mix with meditation has been harder. In the past when I was bored I would go make something happen. That might be true again but I’m still learning what types of things I want to make happen. Right now its better to accept boredom and be patient.

Writing a blog has helped. When I started writing I had no intention of sharing my blog. I just knew that I had a lot of unprocessed Vipassana thoughts rattling around in my head and that it would be helpful to write them out. I discovered that I could accomplish 2 of my goals by publishing my blog. First, I could develop my confidence by expressing the new me for everyone to see. Second, I could support other meditators who might appreciate reading the thoughts of fellow struggling meditator. Blogging has also been a great activity when I’m bored and tempted to fall into old habits. I’ve been quite amazed by how many people are reading my blog. I was think maybe 25 people would have read it. Over the last 4 days this blog has had 150 hits. Honestly, that’s a bit intimidating, but exciting at the same time.

Starting a group sitting has been a helpful foundation to meet like-minded people. I decided to start an official Goenka sitting which requires a year of committed practice but I think starting an unofficial sitting through meetup.com could be helpful for anyone. There needs to be an easier way to connect with local Goenka Vipassana meditators but I haven’t figured it out yet.

Finally, staying connected to the center is helpful. I’m still involved with the kitchen committee and have started helping with registration. You don’t need to spend a lot of time but volunteering and hosting a group sitting have challenged me to stay committed to my practice even when it’s hard.

Time for days 31-60.

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About Ryan Shelton

While I'm currently married to a beautiful woman while teaching physics at Padua Academy, these descriptors fail to capture the totality of my adventurous life. I have hiked over 1700 miles, traveled to 5 continents, managed a bakery, started a meditation center, counseled troubled teens, attended Duke, UNC, and Harvard, protected forests as a wildland firefighter, volunteered thousands of hours with Americorps, rafted the Grand Canyon, SCUBA dived on the Great Barrier Reef, and continues to find new adventures. I hope my writing encourages you to pursue your dreams and be the best version of yourself while supporting your communities to work together to solve the current challenges in our world.

One thought on “30 Days Since Leaving The Center

  1. Great record! Hang in there!
    I think you’re onto something with the Meetup group idea. We really need to come up with better ways to make the connections between Old Students! So many people ask and put in the Opt-in Doc that they want to connect with a group, and we aren’t doing enough to help…

    Like

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