Dhamma Muscles

There are times when I’m just not strong enough to be the person I want to be. Maybe there’s a bully I want to confront or social standard I want to hold myself to and I just can’t bring myself to do it. In the past when this happened I felt like a failure because I was either letting myself down or the people around me down, but I new perspective is coming to the surface.

Instead of beating myself up, I just accept that my dhamma muscles aren’t strong enough yet. I’m realizing that sitting two hours a day isn’t just about purifying the mind. It’s about growing stronger day by day so I can eventually take on the larger challenges in my world. Just like building physical muscles I can’t expect to leap from bench pressing 120 lbs to 250 lbs in one day, but if I work out regularly for a number of years I’m bound to reach 250 lbs one day.

There’s no reason to beat myself up because I can’t currently bench 250 lbs because it’s a physical impossibility. In the same way I shouldn’t beat myself for falling short of my dhamma goals. Instead, I can take comfort that if I continue to meditate regularly there will come a time when I can live up to a higher standard. The key is to continue working hard without giving up. Time to pump some iron! … oops, I mean … 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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