Returning to Normal Life

My year of service at Dhamma Delaware is coming to a close with all my short term goals nearly accomplished. The new “urban” Vipassana Meditation Center has successfully completed five 10-day residential courses and new management is trained and ready for departure. This took a lot of hard work, but these are merely the prerequisites for my larger dream.

Meditation became a large part of my life starting in 2010 when I committed to sit 2 hours every day. This time on the cushion has helped me find peace and love within myself, and my daily actions are more aligned with wholesome qualities than ever before. Unfortunately, sitting 10-day silent meditation courses and sitting 2 hours a day is abnormal, and at times, this made it difficult to stick with my practice. I wanted to be a wholesome loving person and I knew meditation was helping, but I also wanted to fit in with my community, work a normal job, and raise a healthy family. I didn’t want to feel like an outsider and I didn’t want Vipassana Meditation to seem outlandish.

When property was purchased for a new Center in the middle of a suburban neighborhood just 30 minutes outside of Philadelphia, I knew it would create the opportunity for meditators to be normal. When I was alone explaining this practice in North Carolina and traveling to Centers in the middle of nowhere for 10-day retreats, I could come across as a freak, but in Claymont, Delaware, with a Center, civilization, and work so close together, maybe things could be different. I thought there was an opportunity for something special.  If meditation became normal, maybe a more diverse population would participate, maintain their practice, and receive the benefits of the meditation. At least, that’s the dream. In the months and years to come, we will see if it becomes a reality.

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.

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