Connection

Connecting with people is what life is all about. It’s so hard to explain what that connection feels like, how it is built, and why we care so much about it. If we’re not careful that connection can turn into an attachment and cause us a lot of pain when it’s lost. What I want to talk about is the depth of connection we feel with different people and how that relates to meditation.

You might have a group of friends that get together to share a surface level experience: bowling, pizza, or a baseball game. These experiences are really fun and can form a bond. When you’re part of a group you feel better about yourself. You feel accepted because your presence makes people happy.

But sometimes our image of this perfect little clique gets shattered when a less pleasant situation occurs. Who is there when you need a ride to the mechanic, when you need someone to cheer you up at the hospital, or when you need help studying for an exam? You build an even stronger bond with the people who are with you both when you’re up and when you’re down. With these people, the good times feel even better and the bad times feel alright.

A third level of depth comes from sharing your life with someone. Your family, whether you’re a child or a parent, is attached to you. Unlike the friends from above, your environment is continuously impacted by your family. This is why family can so easily bring us to our emotional extremes. They can make us sad when we want to be happy or make us happy when we want to be sad. This connection is unique in our lives.

An even deeper connection might be growing in dhamma with someone. I haven’t experienced this connection because most of my dhamma growth has been independent of others, but I can feel myself reaching an untapped depth within myself. I know the instant bond that comes from meeting a fellow meditator. I know the intimacy of sitting with a group of meditators. I can only imagine the strength and depth of the connection that comes from meditating with someone regularly over several years. The ability and opportunity to connect with people would be amazing; someday I hope to experience it. Time to meditate.

 

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This entry was posted in Observations 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.

2 thoughts on “Connection

  1. Start a formal or informal group sitting with other meditators in the area. If you can’t find people near by move closer to a place where you can find. I spent first three years closer to Hyderabad center and then moved to Minnesota where I could not find any meditator near by. The effect is disasterous. I decided to move to s.f bay area started sitting with another meditator weekly. Two people’s informal sitting has multiplied into more group sittings, one days courses, city Vipassana hall, etc. because I was living in the appropriate place. The Buddha mentions this as one the things in mangala sutta as the helpful factor.

    In another sutta he mentions companionship of kalyana mitta as the whole of spiritual life instead of part of it. So why wait?

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    • Wow, it’s great to hear your were part of such a growing community in SF. I host a group sitting in little Carrboro, North Carolina. There are generally between 2 to 4 of us which isn’t bad. I’ve thought about moving to a larger community or at least closer to a center (I’m currently about 7 hours away). Maybe that will come together someday but not yet. But life is good 🙂

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