Jonathan Penn

IMG_0684Introduction by Ryan Shelton: When I arrived in Delaware, Jon was already an established contributing volunteer for the Mid-Atlantic Vipassana Association. I appreciated his enthusiasm, positive energy, and support of everyone in the community. My dhamma relationship with Jon grew as we served together on Committees, at Children’s Courses, and at the Center. I could tell that we both enjoyed the simple pleasure of watching dhamma grow in our region. Even though we live 2 hours apart, our relationship progressed beyond dhamma on a overnight canoeing and camping adventure. I’m happy to call Jon my friend and look forward to our future escapades.

Dhamma Story: By the end of college I had totally burnt myself out, so I worked at a restaurant, saved some money while living at my parents and then flew to Australia to figure something out  about myself or maybe just have a good time. Volunteering in a scuba shop in Queensland (Byron Bay) I mentioned to a fellow diver that I wanted to learn meditation and she told me about a Vipassana meditation center a couple hours away that offered courses for free. The price was right so without putting very much thought into it at all I filled out an application and found myself at the center on my first 10-day course a few weeks later. I told some Old Students there that I had shown up knowing virtually nothing about the courses and when they exchanged a knowing look with each I knew I was in for a wild ride… I think that might have ended up being the most difficult 10-days spent of my life but it was worth it. I experienced a sense of peace that I had never known before and find that as I continue to practice that peace is something that grows for me.

After my course, I felt ready to return to regular life and booked my return trip. Since then I’ve been working and practicing and taking courses and also giving service as time permits. At times I work really hard in my professional life but am able to keep some balance that I don’t think I would have had without my practice and haven’t burned myself out again yet. 🙂

Dhamma Friends: Chris Hammond

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This entry was posted in Friendship Chain, Personal Experiences by Ryan Shelton. Bookmark the permalink.

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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