Success vs. Love

One reason I believe daily meditation is hard is because it’s not simply about setting aside time in your busy day to sit. It’s about actively shifting the way you live your life. For decades, most of us have been taught to measure the quality of our lives by our successes and failures. This implies that we can write a list of the things we’ve accomplished, like a resume, and that we never write down our failures because that would be a knock to our reputation. We haven’t been trained to be honest and authentic; We’ve been trained to create the perception of a perfect life.

Meditation immediately eats away at this training. Every time we sit, we face our weaknesses and shortcomings. Every time we sit we’re challenged to reflect on our imaginary list of failures and accept that each item on the list as a part of who we are. Instead of trying to glorify our strengths and cover up our weaknesses, meditation encourages us to accept, embrace, and love everything about me.

This acceptance of oneself and each other is so rich that the last day of a 10-day course has a natural high, but what about after you leave the Center? Most of the people in our communities are living by the old rules of glorifying strengths and diminishing weaknesses, so if I present my weaknesses, I will probably get trampled. In order to live the life of dhamma, we not only need to follow these new rules of unconditional love, but we need to convince the people in our lives to embrace these new rules too so they don’t trample us while we’re trying to change. Everyone would agree that the world would be a better place if we all lived with unconditional love, but it’s very difficult to love while being attacked or put down. To start shifting the tides of the world, we need leaders who are strong enough to do just that. Meditation and meditation communities can help. Time to meditate.

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About Ryan Shelton

In March of 2010 I discovered a path to peace and happiness through a 10-day Vipassana meditation course in the tradition of S.N. Goenka. After establishing my personal practice, and witnessing how it changed my way of life, I'm now curious to explore how the growing community of meditators can help to support each other and make the world a better place.
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One Response to Success vs. Love

  1. JY says:

    If we accept ourselves and each other, why is it necessary to convince other people? I am in similar dilemma if I need let more people know vipassana.

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