Afraid to Comform

I’ve managed to live on the perimeter of society since high school. I played by whatever rules I was presented with, but I also questioned and challenged them. Our world has so many glaring flaws that conforming felt like boarding a sinking ship, but walking away felt scary and lonely, and actually felt unproductive, so I bounced around the perimeter.

Now, it’s time to change this pattern. Vipassana has given me the tools to help society as one of it’s members. Instead of attacking flaws, I’m learning how to love and accept them, which provides the ground work for a community to truly grow beyond them. When someone is attacked, they’re forced to defend their actions, but if they can observe the flaws of a system from a peaceful and safe place, they have the opportunity to invent positive solutions and implement change. Vipassana is the ultimate tool to bring peace to these flaws.

My fear comes from the strong vibrations of greed, anger, and ignorance within society. When I leave the dhamma bubble, I can feel these vibrations so strongly that I anticipate them overpowering me.  Maintaining equanimity in and practicing metta in places like a shopping mall or a competitive job fairs is difficult. My ego wants to buy the most expensive things and be hired for the best job even though deep down I know this competition is a component of what’s tearing apart our society.

My next challenge is to accept that I’m one member of society without any resistance, and to live with peace, love, and equanimity in each situation I find myself in. My role is not to tell people what is right and wrong, but to live in the ways that I believe are right, and let others decide their own path. By living through my own inner truth, others may become inspired to live by theirs. Society will become healthy when everyone feels safe to grow from within and live their personal truth. This is a long and scary path, but I believe it’s the right path.

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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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