The Right Type of Encouragement

I’ve always found the question of proper encouragement to be an interesting topic because determining what’s right and wrong can be subtle and personal. For example, a Christian missionary believes people who don’t believe in Jesus will go to hell so he or she is willing to do whatever it takes to convert people. She is trying to do the right thing according to her beliefs but maybe she’s actually uncomfortable being alone with her beliefs or is pushing people away from Christianity.

With Vipassana I feel a similar belief that this technique would help anyone willing to practice but I’ve found that people need to come to it on their own. It can’t be forced. So what do we do with our desire to serve? I believe there is a population of people interested in meditation but that find it difficult to practice. This group can be supported and encouraged in many ways without creating any negative feelings.

This is why group sittings are so important for old students to attend. When a student is fresh off their first course they will face many challenges. If they go to a group sitting with several students who have practiced for some time, this will give them confidence, support, and a place to seek answers. If they don’t find this, they might find it too difficult to continue their practice alone. This is a very challenging practice and path that’s full of rewards for students who keep at it. Do what you can to encourage those with the desire to integrate meditation into their lives. 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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