Understand what you’re doing

It took me a while to understand what I was doing.  Then, it came to me.  What I was doing was understanding what I was doing.  For a while, I was in the process of learning what to do.  This was with my life, in a sense, but also more focused on the pursuit of learning how to draw and paint as a professional artist.

I am not a professional artist, yet.  I have now understood what I was looking at all this time.  I think this is what Vipassana is.  It is not changing what you are doing, necessarily, but seeing that change take place.  Seeing the happening happen.  I think this translates into most things that anyone would like to learn.  It needs to be seen, so that you can understand what to do, to know what to do.

I went to a dance course this last summer.  At the end of the course, the instructor said, “Now you know what you don’t know.”  Vipassana brings you into the unknown with each sit and with all the attention on your body.  Who knows what sensation will come next?  Not I!  It’s unknown, which is why it is rewarding and also why it is tough.

When you can see a path to journey, you can take that path.  It took me a while to see the path I wanted to take with my drawing and painting.  I had to listen to a lot of talks and practice a lot before I understood what I could do with it, or what didn’t serve me in learning it.  This is where I am now with that and that my understanding of this will change more, but I’m with that change now.  I’m beginning my journey, with my own guidance, into the unknown.  I have a stronger ‘seeing’ or understanding of what it is I need to understand.  It’s just as one sits their first Vipassana course.  Often, it takes you to a new level of seeing.  I think there is no way that it won’t, as long as you’re practicing properly.  The proper practice is the seeing, and that is the changing.

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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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