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.

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About Ryan Shelton

In March of 2010 I discovered a path to peace and happiness through a 10-day Vipassana meditation course in the tradition of S.N. Goenka. After establishing my personal practice, and witnessing how it changed my way of life, I'm now curious to explore how the growing community of meditators can help to support each other and make the world a better place.
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2 Responses to A Dhamma Relationship

  1. Steve says:

    Well done! That’s courageous of you to be true to yourself. I’m curious – how are things going for you / the relationship now?

    • Ryan Shelton says:

      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.

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