People Are Suffering

I’ve always struggled with the idea of success. All of the benchmarks seem to be selfish. Did I get an A in Organic Chemistry? Am I making a 6 figure income? Did I marry a beautiful woman with a respectable family? Did I raise good kids? Did I retire in the nice community? Did I work hard enough to reach all of these benchmarks? I’ve never been able to put my finger on it exactly but questions have always seemed to be disconnected from reality.

The truth is, people are suffering all over the world. People are starving, suffering from addictions, sick, at war, etc. The above questions seem to want me to isolate myself from these truths so I can find happiness in my own private bubble. The problem is, that’s not how life works. When one person is suffering, everyone around them suffers. No matter how hard I try to remove the suffering from my awareness, it eventually sneaks up on me.

I’ve tried to take on this challenge in the past, but I was always quickly faced with a new obstacle. What can I possible do to reduce the suffering on this planet? There are limited resources, so there never be enough for everyone. I often accepted the suffering and simply returned to the idea of making the most of my own situation and enjoying it while it lasted.

Vipassana may be the solution to this problem. By establishing my own daily meditation practice and helping other people learn about meditation and establish their own daily practice, I’m directly reducing my own suffering and the suffering of the people around me. This practice seems to be a strategy to both face the suffering in the world and to reach a deeper level of happiness than I thought possible. The more I meditate, the less I value the benchmarks in my life. The purity of my mind and the contributions I make to others are the new benchmarks in my life. Time to meditate.

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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.

One thought on “People Are Suffering

  1. I am responsible for my suffering. Whether it was parents emotions or attachments or could not handle people behaviour at work. Was seeing Sachin… Sachin (Tendulkar getting retired) how he handles the pressure for 25 years as a cricketer and kept performing.

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