Social Creatures

Meditating daily is great, but it’s not enough to be a healthy human being. SN Goenka made an amazing contribution to our planet by helping to spread the practice of Vipassana around the world, but after your 10-day course you’re essentially on your own, and this practice is too demanding for most of us to sustain it in isolation. I also appreciate the benchmark of sitting 2 hours a day to attend long courses, but this is not the minimum necessary to benefit from meditation. Most people are so disconnected from their inner reality, that any daily effort to slow the mind will help redirect them down a healthy path. Many meditation apps are showing that 5 to 10 minutes a day can make a big difference in a persons life. I’m not trying to contaminate the practice or lower the standard. I simply want to explore strategies to help more people achieve this high bar over time.

Finding social support is a critical part of most individual’s journeys. In order to find social support, you must be willing to share your experiences and understanding with the people in your life. Most of us are beginners and should refrain from speaking as teachers, but sharing your personal struggles and growths can be extremely helpful for everyone involved. I’m amazed at how similar everyone’s struggles are to integrate this practice into their lives. By talking about our experiences we develop a deeper understanding of dhamma and we improve our ability to communicate these very complicated experiences.

I believe that most new students give up because they can’t find the social support needed to walk this demanding path. While it’s possible to walk this path alone, that doesn’t mean we have to. If we all work together to maintain our motivation, we may be able to change the culture of an entire community, but this can’t happen if we isolate ourselves. Let’s talk and work together so we can make the world a better place. Time to meditate.

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This entry was posted in 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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