Learning to Love and Think

Graduation ceremonies always have speakers that talk about the friendships people made in school, and the hope of teaching the world how to love, but this is the first time I hear a commencement speaker discuss without it sounding a bit cliché. The difference was that I felt I’ve actually learned how to be a more loving person through meditation, and I feel like others can learn these same lessons just as methodically as we learn to think in school.

Currently, we send enthusiastic young adults to college alongside may people like them and let them discover themselves and the value of friendship in the melting pot of ideas. This process can be quite painful as students learn the lessons of overdrinking, broken hearts, and failure. This tumultuous journey seems to spawn the deep connections between students, but when people leave school, I’m not sure anyone understands what made some specific relationships particularly strong, and this may be why comparable relationships are much less frequent after college.

I wonder if Vipassana could make the discovering of love less painful and more replicable. Meditation has helped purify my mind allowing people to feel safe and more likely to open up to me. In a safe environment, everyone involved in personal discussions seems to grow together, but creating that environment is always the hard part. The link that a pure mind can love unconditionally is something that I only learned through meditation. If kids learn to meditate at an early age, they may have a more intuitive connection and understanding of pure love. I wonder how the college experience would change with a substantial population of meditators. We spend most of school time learning to memorize and think, so I wonder what childhood would be like if we spent a some amount of time teaching children to love. 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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