Love At First Sight

Every relationship is unique with its own story about how two people have come together. Frequently people are drawn into relationships with opposite personalities and attractions can range in sophistication from simply a physical attraction to a deep-rooted network of beliefs and shared experiences. So what is it that brings two people together into a friendship or relationship? I find that this process if often out of my control.

When I’m searching for new friends and relationships they can often be hard to come by. I might be able to arrange a few get togethers but if there isn’t a natural connection these connections quickly disappear. When I’m peacefully present with my life I often find that the right people just appear. I can perceive when I have a connection with a stranger and often, at least when I have the confidence to break the ice, I find these intuitions are accurate. Of course making that connection is the easy part. Figuring out why I’m drawn to a specific person is far more complicated since this person might appear to be from a different world but I digress. Connecting these thoughts back to Vipassana, maybe in the same way that individuals are drawn to Vipassana at a specific time in their lives people are also drawn to each other. It’s interesting to consider how my past paramis (positive qualities) could be guiding my life and my interactions.

So how do I integrate my Vipassana practice into a relationship? This could be simplified if my partner is also a meditator but for most of us life isn’t that simple. The people who we’re mysteriously attracted to are following their own path. It’s tempting to try to convince a partner of the wonderful merits of meditation but this can push them away just as easily as it can lead them. You also need to be careful about sounding conceited or condescending. The other option is to reduce conflict by choosing to stop your practice. These two hours a day one spends on the cushion can be resented as it’s two hours a meditator is choosing not to spend with their partner. Meditation can be perceived as a waste of time.

Introducing this unique lifestyle into a relationship, friendship, or a family can cause many storms and confusions. I wish I had more answers or insights but maybe by creating this space I receive comments from readers who do. For now I’m trying to trust dhamma and my paramis to guide my life and enjoy the wonderfully diverse people who cross my path on a daily basis.

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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 “Love At First Sight

  1. I have a friend who has been married for 18 years. During this time he has always had a very dedicated spiritual practice that takes 2-3 hours of his day, every day. My friend said he really knew he had married the right person when the discussion came up about having kids. His wife wanted kids, but my friend was fearful that having children would cause his practice to fall apart. His wife assured him that she would never ever let him stop his spiritual practices, because she could see how much they helped him, and therefore how much they benefitted their relationship. They now have two kids, and they are both very involved in parenting but obviously my friend does not contribute as much parenting because he works and also spends 2-3 hours per day on his spiritual practices. His wife is okay with this arrangement. What I gather from this is that a partner does not necessarily need to be a meditator in order to be in a healthy relationship with a dedicated meditator. What does seem necessary is genuine respect and support and understanding.

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