Ethan Nichtern, a meditation teacher at the Shambhala Center where I learn and practice is kind of young. I approached our first interaction with a degree of skepticism about learning an ancient tradition from someone so young. However, I quickly became a fan of his down to earth style and uncanny ability to integrate the challenges of modern living, pop culture, and technology with the ancient wisdom of Buddhism. His dharma talk this week had a few key points I thought worth sharing with readers.
Comfort is way overrated. Happiness is way underrated.
He told a story about when he started to come around the Shambhala Center where his father is a meditation teacher. They were listening to another teacher when Ethan looks to his father and asked; “Dad, this guy has been meditating thirty years, he seems a little nuts?” and with a chuckle his father responds “Yeah, you should have seen him before he started.” The lesson being that some of us go to our grave being a little less nuts, others go a little more nuts. All of a sudden a little doesn’t look so bad.
Another point that resonated a great deal; After you spend a weekend at a meditation or spiritual retreat, one often finds you are still the same confused person. However, that is not the kind of talk that gets you on Oprah. That is reserved for the people who promise transformation in an hour, day, or weekend.
There was a lot more to the talk, but that’s for another time. Working on an interview with him for the The Blog.