Every Step Helps

Long before I learned to meditate, I decided to dedicate my life to helping all people grow and live better lives. Along this journey, I discovered Vipassana, and I believe the 10-day course teaches a complete path to purification. I struggle with the gap between providing the teaching, and helping people walk the path. From my observation, very few people are able to complete a 10-day course, and much fewer are able to practice 2 hours a day. While the path most certainly requires individuals to pass these milestones at some point, I don’t believe it’s the starting point.

The teaching emphasizes the importance of Sila, Samadhi, and Panna. Only Panna requires a 10-day course to develop understanding. I’ve sat and served multiple 10-day courses, but the biggest challenge is taking the time every day to meditate. Life is filled with activities to draw us away from meditation, and the more distance we put between ourselves and our practice, the harder it is to start again. It’s this daily effort to develop dhamma in our lives that leads us down the path. We can have complete intellectual understanding, but if we don’t take the time to face the impurities within, we’re going to struggle to grow.

I want to explore how to help people to begin walking this beautiful path. I want everyone to realize that every day is an opportunity to take steps in the right direction on this path. I want people to feel encouraged and supported in practicing however they can within the limitations of the rest of their lives. I don’t know exactly how to help, but I want to spend some time thinking about it. 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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