A Dhamma Relationship

After spending 7 months at a center I knew two things; 1) I wanted to be open to a new relationship 2) I wanted to maintain my practice and sila. Growing up in a culture where physical intimacy is part of dating, I was really concerned about how to do this. Ideally I would like to date another meditator, but in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, there aren’t many people who have heard of Vipassana. I could forget about finding a woman my age that I was interested in that was also a meditator.

Within the first month, I found myself engaging this wonderful woman. We had the awkward conversations about sexual misconduct and sitting two hours a day, and to my surprise, she wasn’t immediately scared off. She asked me why I wasn’t seeking a relationship with another meditator and I kind of ignored the question. This felt right. Maybe that was because I had gone 7 months without an intimate interaction. Only time would tell.

After a month or so I showed her SN Goenka’s Anapana video. I thought, “Certainly that will scare her off.” But to my surprise, within a few weeks she had created her own daily meditation practice. I wasn’t sure if she was doing it for me or for her, but it felt good to connect through meditation.

8 months later, she has now completed her first 10-day course. She found it both painful and rewarding. Like most people, she wants to continue her daily practice, but she is discovering the daily difficulties of this meaningful path. She now understands that to grow in dhamma it takes a lot of work. Now it’s my turn to be patient and loving. Her path is hers to live and it’s not my role to dictate how she lives it but one sentence sticks in my head. She said, “You did start a relationship with a meditator, I just didn’t know it.” Maybe this is a sign that dhamma works. Maybe not. Only time will tell. Time to meditate.

This entry was posted in Personal Experiences 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 “A Dhamma Relationship

    • Things are going great! She sat her first course last summer and is sitting 1.5 hours a day. This makes my practice even stronger. It’s the healthiest relationship I’ve ever been in.

      Liked by 1 person

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