Keeping Focused on Meditation

I’ve had a great start to the year. My primary goal was to build up my community of support and friendship and on all accounts I’ve made positive steps forward. I’ve found some skilled and dedicated writers to share this blog which as caused the viewership to basically double. My very small group sitting (sometimes only me) has a few more regular meditators. I felt comfortable going to the graduate student happy hour at a bar and not drinking. This has reduced the separation I feel between myself and my peers. I’ve enjoyed attending swing dance and yoga classes in town with some meditator friends. I’ve felt much more comfortable meeting new people and speaking up when I’m not comfortable doing something because of my practice. All of these things were difficult for me only a few months ago.

Now the challenge is to not forget that the foundation that these experiences are built upon is my meditation practice. In the past its been easy for me to put off work to continue enjoying a social event. I want to make sure I don’t start skipping sittings because they seem inconvenient. I find it relatively easy to meditate when life is difficult because I know that sitting is a way out of misery. It’s much more difficult to stop doing something I enjoy to sit.

The key is to remember that I wouldn’t be enjoying myself without the foundation of dhamma. If I stop meditating, I’ll start losing my direction on the path. By taking the time to meditate twice a day I’m helping to ensure that I can sustain my happiness for longer periods of time. One of the reasons I’ve been working hard to establish a core group of meditating friends it because they will help me remember the importance of meditation. Non-meditators simply don’t have the awareness to understand the value of this time on the cushion. By becoming stronger, healthier, and happier over time while keeping connected to everyone in my community without judging, maybe I’ll be able to show some non-meditators the value of meditation through my actions. Time to 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.

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