Avoid Harming Others

I’ve spent most of my life trying to figure out what I need to do to live a good life. The choice was always between this action or that action. Inaction looked like apathy so that wasn’t an option. Meditation has shown me how much harm I do with my daily actions. By eating meat, I’m encouraging others to harm animals. Most of the conversations I have include some form of negativity or back talking. Even things like driving my car is adding pollution to the air and facilitating the need to drill for more oil. Meditation has forced me to become more aware of the larger implications of my actions and is requiring me to rethink how I go about my day.

Instead of focusing on choosing actions, I learning how to avoid actions that harm. It has taken me some time to really connect to the definitions of sila (morality) as the absence of harming, but it makes sense. If I avoid causing harm to others and myself, I can start to clean out the impurities of the past. As long as I’m still causing harm to others, my mind will never fully settle down.

What’s interesting to me is how hard it is to stop old habits. For me, eating meat is a great example. I feel healthier when I don’t eat meat, and I consciously know I’m causing the harm of animals in the future by eating meat, but it’s just more convenient in our society to eat meat. Convenient certainly doesn’t equal right.

This carries into my social life. I spent a lot of time evaluating other people’s choices and actions, but now that I’ve got a list of goals for my own personal growth, I don’t have as much time to judge other people. This is good because judging others doesn’t help anyone. All I can do is be the best me I can. Meditation is helping me do that. Time to go meditate.

This entry was posted in Personal Experiences by Ryan Shelton. Bookmark the permalink.

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.

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