A Way of Life

Life is complicated and difficult. To deal with the stress and anxiety we search for various coping mechanisms. For quite some time I found meditation to be the ultimate coping mechanism to deal with life. As I’ve maintained my daily practice over several years, I’ve discovered a significant shift. Instead of helping me cope with life, meditation is changing the way I live my life. Instead of becoming stressed by various activities and then trying to decompress, I find that I’m no longer getting stressed in the first place.  I’m changing both the activities I participate in and the way I participate in activities. Accepting this practice into my life has meant accepting major changes in the way I live.

As I plan for my future, this mental shift has impacted the way I try to engage people. In the past I would engage all types of people and attempt to convince them that my way of living was correct. In return I would get all kinds of advice about how I should live my life. Now I simply see meditation as a personal choice. I’ve found meditation to be a wonderful guide in my life, and I’m choosing to use this technique to guide my decisions. What other people do is up to them; they get to choose their own path. Instead of wasting countless hours trying to tell each other what to do, I’m spending more time just living.

The final piece to this puzzle is my desire to develop a larger community of meditators in my life. Following this path is a difficult personal choice. For many people, this practice asks too much. I think the only way to grow my community is to move closer to a Center or an established community. While this path can be walked alone, I think it will be more rewarding to share this path with friends. Hopefully soon I’ll be living among a community of dhamma friends. 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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