Eight years ago, Maria and I got engaged with the intention to raise a dhamma family. The volition to sit two hours a day together and the volition to raise children together seemed to be in conflict. We dreamed about being part of a community of meditators that could support our family and our practice. This vision pushed us to leave North Carolina where we both attended graduate school and help start Dhamma Pubbananda, the new Goenka Vipassana Meditation Center in Delaware. We didn’t know anyone in Delaware or the Mid-Atlantic Vipassana Association. We just loved the idea of an urban center where we could potentially integrate careers, community, and Vipassana.
Today, we own a house 10 minutes away from Dhamma Pubbananda in beautiful North Wilmington. I teach physics and an elective on well-being at a local charter high school. My wife has partnered with a local organization to create a program that supports patients with dementia and their caregivers. In a matter of weeks, our second child will be born. Over the last 8 years, with the intention of raising a dhamma family, we’ve built a solid foundation to make this dream a possibility, but there is still so much work to be done!
When our son William was born 2.5 years ago, it became nearly impossible to sit 2 hours a day. While finding time was a challenge, exhaustion was the biggest obstacle. After completing all the necessary tasks for my work and family, sleep was often prioritized over meditating. Since sitting my first 10-day course in three years last summer, I’ve managed to prioritize sitting 30 to 60 minutes a day. I hope to continue sitting 30 minutes a day after the baby is born, but we will see.
This next chapter reminds me of when I first accepted Goenka’s advice to commit to sitting 2 hours a day for a year. I believe in dhamma, but I don’t have role models who have successfully integrated dhamma into family life. It feels like an adventure, but also something I need to figure out on my own. When I started my two-hour practice, I started this blog to allow myself to process the experience of bringing dhamma into my single life, and possibly help others who were beginning a similar journey. Today, as I prepare to raise a dhamma family, I’m hoping that writing will help me and others on a similar journey.