Community Building

I’ve established my daily practice, and I was right that hosting a group sitting and writing a blog would help me focus on meditation, but I’ve had little success building a community. The attendance at my Goenka Vipassana group sitting has been low mostly because there just aren’t enough  meditators in this tradition around. There are meditators of other traditions around, but my tradition is pretty strict and encourages me to not mix practices. And to be honest, meditation isn’t that social of an activity. So how do I build a community of like-minded people?

I think the angle I want to try next is to tap into the yoga community. Yoga has spread like gangbusters in America and there are all types of people doing meditation for many different reasons. I practiced yoga for about 10 years before I started meditating, but having a serious meditation practice has transformed what yoga is about for me. It used practice yoga to improve flexibility and get some exercise. Now I’m learning how to be in touch with my body while it’s in motion. The values of acceptance and gentleness are growing stronger than the desire to push harder and achieve. I think I’m learning what yoga was meant to teach rather than turning it into what my American mind wanted it to be.

Nonetheless, yoga has helped many Americans live happier, healthier lives. There are lots of yoga classes in my community with many yogis to share my life with. I’m going to attempt to organize a group of meditators who are interested in attending a different yoga class every week followed by a cup of tea. Hopefully this will be more engaging and fun for people and will help me develop a community of like-minded people. Only time will tell.

If you have any ideas or suggestions to help me develop my local community I would enjoy reading them. Until then, I’m just going to keep winging it. Time to go meditate.

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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.

2 thoughts on “Community Building

  1. Just sharing what helped me get my own circle of co-meditator support locally. I dont know if you might have already done all these. Start/participate in a local email group for vipassana meditators ( in this tradition). Start serving at the centers more and assist the center’s work in many ways other than course serving( library, translation, editing, zero-day and metta-day assistance, office work, accounting, auditing etc). This established for me my own community of friends, with whom I could relate, share and talk to in my local city and elsewhere too. Maybe many meditators might not be attending group sittings. If you wish to , you can request and find out the database of meditators in your local city through the center , so you can serve, by calling them/emailing them to attend the group sits. That can also help in having more people to attend group sits and establish the local community.

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