The Root of Societies Problems

Yeah, I was one of those kids that wanted to save the world. I’ve gone through many iterations of deconstructing and reconstructing this thought, and I’m wondering if it’s time to deconstruct it again. I’ve grown to realize that I’m just one person among billions, that the idea of saving the world is full of ego, and the assumption that the world needs saving is a poor way of framing the challenges we face, but nevertheless, I find myself believing that I’m at the pinnacle of the solution.

The world can certainly become healthier, and I can definitely contribute in a positive way, and I’ve started to believe that meditation is not only the solution to purify my mind at the root level, but that it’s the fundamental tool to purify the root of the world’s problems. Is my ego popping into play again here? Am I overstating the potential and strength of Vipassana? Am I becoming the supporter of another fundamental religion that is proposing to have the right answers?

I think this is an oversimplification of the situation, but it reminds me how careful I need to be, and how careful the organization should be regarding its mission. It seems healthier to stick with the simple successes of Vipassana. I meditate because it helps me to live a healthier, happier, more peaceful life. I support other people in learning this practice so they can potentially receive these same benefits. I leave the questions of whether this practice can make a significant impact on society to dhamma. At least I’ll try to think and live in this way. 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.

3 thoughts on “The Root of Societies Problems

  1. Here is a little story Goenkaji narrates to the center management. I thought it is somewhat related to your thoughts here.

    A bullock cart owner used to transport goods from one place to
    the other. This man had a small dog. When he travelled from one village to another,
    he trained the dog to walk under the bullock cart to avoid the sun’s heat. Wherever
    they travelled, the farmer sat on the bullock cart but the dog walked below in the
    shade of the cart.

    In time the small dog came to feel that he was carrying the entire burden of the cart,
    and he wondered why the farmer gave so much attention to the bullocks. He
    thought, “I am carrying the burden of this cart! Wherever we travel, it is over my
    back. More importance should be given to me!”

    Actually, nobody is carrying the cart; the Dhamma is carrying the cart. Nobody
    should feel, “I am the most important person, it is only because of me that the
    centre functions properly. It is only because of me that the teaching is given, that
    Dhamma spreads.” Come out of this madness!

    Understand that you are simply a vehicle, a tool, and Dhamma is doing its job. If you
    had not been given this responsibility, somebody else would have taken it and the
    work would go on. Dhamma is bound to spread now; the clock of Vipassana has
    struck. You have been given the opportunity to serve in one way or another, and this
    should not become a cause of inflating your ego.

    Like

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