Local Surprise

Stranger: Are you new to the area?

Me: Yeah, I recently moved here from North Carolina.

Stranger: What brings you to Claymont, DE?

Me: You know that old Children’s Home on Green Street that’s been abandoned for 8 years? I’m helping the organization that’s trying to turn it into a Meditation Center.

Since moving to Claymont, I’ve had this conversation with a wide range of people like the eye doctor, grocery store cashier, barber, insurance agent, postal workers, construction workers, and neighbors, and they all have the same initial inquiry, “what are you teaching?” People are curious, surprised, and generally pleasant. When I explain that you can’t talk for 9 days, most people say, “There is no way I could do that,” but the response is still positive.

The biggest test was at the barber shop full of regulars who knew I was the new guy. After some time, the barber said, “Tell me more about the meditation your teaching. I’m a Christian, and I’m curious.” Alarms are going off in my head! Be careful! Don’t screw this up! I started off explaining how it’s a secular technique to purify the mind. He pushed a little harder about whether we were converting people, and explained how some people are uncomfortable that the teaching is from the Buddha, but the goal is to teach a technique, not to tell people what to believe. He seemed comfortable with the conversation, and expressed that he hoped to see me again soon. I’ll accept this as a small success of making meditation normal in Claymont.

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About Ryan Shelton

In March of 2010 I discovered a path to peace and happiness through a 10-day Vipassana meditation course in the tradition of S.N. Goenka. After establishing my personal practice, and witnessing how it changed my way of life, I'm now curious to explore how the growing community of meditators can help to support each other and make the world a better place.
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5 Responses to Local Surprise

  1. Anonymous says:

    Best Wishes Sir, May you be Successful in your endeavor. May Dhamma Spread in Claymont.

  2. Pradeep says:

    That is very good Ryan. Glad you are able to plant seeds of curiosity!. Good luck!

  3. Kristen says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Do you know any psychologists who are also Vipassana meditators? I am seeking to speak to a psychologist who also practices the meditation that Goenka taught. I sat my first course in August and served a course in September. I gladdened by the response that “Anonymous says” above: “May Dhamma Spread in Claymont”

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