An Impersonal War

There is a war to be fought, but it’s not against any individual, group, or nation. As I develop an understanding of my mind, I’m realizing that the war is against the impurities within each of us. First, I must carry on the strong fight against my own anger, greed, fear, and ignorance, then I must help others to look within.

I just watched Unbroken, a movie about an American suffering in a Japanese POW camp during WWII, and I saw how both sides redirected their inner anger towards the other nationality. In the end, the main character learns to forgive his captors, but for the most part we continue in this pattern. Instead of facing our impurities directly, we have this historical pattern of blaming some opposition for our impurity.

The most dangerous impurity I see today is greed. While modern technology should allow everyone to work 20 hours a day in a peaceful loving way, we have this need to be the best, richest, strongest, and most powerful. This very desire to “win” leaves a loser on the other end. We look down upon this loser, and they become down on themselves. Instead of helping the global society to become healthier, we strive to climb on the shoulders of our neighbors.

I can’t blame anyone for this pattern, because before Vipassana, climbing one hierarchy or the other was the only way I knew how to define success, or my place in the world. It would be unfair to blame me for my ignorance at the time, and it’s foolish to blame others for the same thing. The fact that a path to a pure and loving mind exists is an amazing discovery in itself. I hope more people discover this path, and that we work together to fight our inner demons.

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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.

2 thoughts on “An Impersonal War

    • , I must carry on the strong fight against my own anger, greed, fear, and ignorance, then I must help others to look within.

      Don’t fight that stuff! That’s when it grows. Accept. Just be aware. Let it in and let it out. But you already knew that 😉


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