I’ve rambled in several posts about self-confidence issues, feeling disconnected and isolated with my practice, a desire to connect with people, and confusion about why things seem different since learning to meditate but I haven’t been able to clearly pinpoint the core agitation. I’m not sure I’ve reached the core yet but I think I’ve taken a large step forward by connecting these issues to a desire to contribute to all of my communities.
I’m part of many communities: my family (both immediate and distant), my school community, my science community, my hiking community, my neighborhood, my meditation community, and a network of friend from previous times in my life. I want to contribute to all of these communities and I feel uncomfortable that my uncertainty with my meditation practice causes me to be confused about how to contribute to each of these communities. Since I haven’t figured out if Vipassana is a lifestyle, the ultimate path, or just a technique that helps me purify my mind I’m struggling to understand how to implement it in my daily life.
If I accept it as the ultimate path it undermines a lot of my past efforts to contribute my various communities and therefore the foundation of many of the relationships in my life. That is not acceptable to me. I have been blessed with wonderful friendships with people coming from all walks of life and I’m not comfortable accepting a belief that these relationships weren’t valid or that my contributions were all for not.
I’m also uncomfortable viewing Vipassana as just a hobby or a mental health technique because it has truly rattled the very core of my being and is challenging me to grow from the base to the peak into a stronger, more loving, and healthier person. This is a huge deal. It’s not just an extracurricular.
So the solution is to focus on the contributions. Everyone is the accumulation of their past experiences or sankaras. Everyone is doing the best they can to help their communities and become happier people. The contributions that each of us make to our communities is what defines us, not the number of hours we spend sitting on our meditation pillows. Meditation is a wonderful technique that allow each of us to clearly see who we are today and helps us grow from that place to a better place so we can contribute in better ways. While the presence, or lack thereof, of this technique in someone’s life might impact the rate they can develop into a more loving person, a person is still defined by their contributions to their communities over everything else.
With that clearly understood in my brain I feel much better about connecting to people the same way I always have: by trying to be as loving and supportive as I can to all of the people and communities I’m connected to. I’m happy to have Vipassana meditation in my toolkit to help me with the ambitious goal.
2 thoughts on “Contributing To All My Communities”
Goenka says the teaching is the teaching only when we apply it and because we apply it. And we can only really apply it through relationships.. with life and all beings around us.
I usually don’t like buying into the bigger picture belief systems, but with my own understanding I want to share some views here. Someone I met in France while I was serving had said “Vipassana is a very long short-cut”. There might be many ways to eventually accumulate paramis and everyone is doing it regardless of them having a practice.
Once Paul Fleischmann had said “the same wisdom you were drinking in a small cup, now by this practice you start drinking with two big jars twice a day”. In a way the path increases the rate at which we are moving through our delusions about what is towards really understanding the reality as it is.
I really like the cup metaphor.