Friendship Timing

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about Right Friendship where I expressed that I needed to withdraw from friendships while I established my practice. Very understandably, this made some new meditators uncomfortable. “Why would I work hard to establish a practice that will cause me to lose friendships that give my life meaning?” While I don’t know how everyone relates to this issue, I want to share a little bit more about my experience with this issue.

While part of my concern was avoiding the temptation of alcohol, the bigger issue was my own self-confidence. When I started seriously meditating, many personal faults came to the surface. Many aspects of life that I thought I understood were becoming cloudy. The foundation of my identity which I relied upon in social settings was being dissected and broken down. I discovered that my old action were actually hurting people. Since I didn’t want to hurt people, and I didn’t know how to help people, I withdrew from situations. I quickly went from the exciting guy at parties to the quiet guy. I didn’t feel like I had anything to offer.

Instead, I focused my energy understanding the Truth through meditation. Instead of being a quick, this process took several years. I continued working and doing what I needed to do, but rebuilding my understanding of the world and my confidence took years. Now I’ve reached a place where I’m understand how to live in a way that’s healthy for me and the people around me. I know how to contribute physically and socially. From this platform, I look forward to building healthier and stronger friendships.

After taking a few courses, I thought it would be easy to convince people how awesome this practice is. I thought I could convince people left and right to try a course. In reality I’ve had much more difficulty. This path is hard. It’s hard to convince people of the benefits when they observe me struggling with it. It’s hard not to struggle when I’m continuously reminded of my own faults.

Maybe in the future I’ll be better able to connect non-meditators to this practice. Instead, I chose to start this blog to connect to individual who already understand the benefits of the practice and its struggles. Hopefully reading about my journey encourages this group of people to keep trying. I know writing it has helped me. 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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