Speaking Out

I was taught not to be drowned out in a crowd. Sometimes you need to yell for your voice to be heard. If you don’t speak up people are going to walk all over you. Having a voice ensures that you’re not taken advantage of, taken for granted, or forgotten completely. I was taught to fight for what I believed in, to  fight for my voice.

Vipassana has humbled me. It was so humbling that I lost my voice. All those year I spent living with a certain foundation of beliefs and suddenly I learned that those very beliefs were causing me and the people around me to suffer. For a couple years I no longer had the confidence to fight nor the strength to voice the power of dhamma. By trying to fight, I was hurting myself, but by trying to live through dhamma I was aknowledging so many mistakes from my past. Even when I tried to live through dhamma I found that I didn’t really understand how. I didn’t have the faith in dhamma to move confidently through life with that quiet strength. I started to wonder if living with dhamma meant issolating myself from the world. It was only by issolating myself that I became strong enough to practice.

I’m still working on my dhamma foundation and I’ve accepted that it will take some time. In this learning phase I’ve grown to accept that my voice is weak but I’m also motivated as I become aware of the strength of a pure dhamma voice. When words ring with the purity of truth you don’t need to scream them for people to listen. That quiet confidence permeates the chaos of forced control and brings peace to everyone in earshot. I have a long way to go, but with dhamma, the goal is no longer to fight for my voice to be heard, but to work so my voice rings with the purity of truth. I was right that having a voice is important. I’ve learned that when the time is right, I won’t need to force it.

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About Ryan Shelton

In March of 2010 I discovered a path to peace and happiness through a 10-day Vipassana meditation course in the tradition of S.N. Goenka. After establishing my personal practice, and witnessing how it changed my way of life, I'm now curious to explore how the growing community of meditators can help to support each other and make the world a better place.
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