The True Benefit of Meditation

There are many different kinds of legitimate articles and such that explain all the benefits of meditation. I’ve read so many and they all sound great and have been proven by science. However, the one thing I feel many of them lack is the ability to express the benefits in a way to where the reader can truly understand.

People will only pay close attention and be motivated by something they resonate and connect with. You can throw out a lot of information about the benefits of whatever along with some statistics, but no one will actually pay attention or be motivated unless you explain something to where they can truly connect and understand in a “aha” kind of way.

So with meditation, I feel that the one benefit everyone can relate with is the ability to take a step back as an observer.

What do I mean?

Let’s say you receive a phone call from a really good friend of yours. The moment you answer the phone, they are sobbing and going hysterical because they were just dumped. You aren’t sobbing and freaking out over them getting dumped, you just want to know what happened, find ways to console them and try to give some advice. This means you are actually in the position of being the observer of their situation. You are more clear headed than them, which allows you to see the solutions they may not be able to see because they are currently spending all of their energy wallowing in their own confusion of emotions.

Now instead of your friend, it is you that got dumped.

Instead of calling up a friend, you seek help from yourself. When you meditate consistently, you naturally have the ability to take a step back in the same way you did with your friend. You don’t have to try to take a step back, it becomes a natural habit in the same way you blink the moment something tries to invade your eyeball. You don’t start sobbing and freak out, you immediately become your own observer before you can acknowledge it. And when you become your own observer, you become aware of the solutions that are available to you so you don’t react like an asshole, and regret what you did later.

I have been meditating consistently for the last 11 days ranging from 2 minutes at a time to an hour. Surprisingly, I have noticed the difference in my response to my recent experience last night.

I was trying to look for an Air BnB room for the night but couldn’t find any available in the area I’m in. So I looked up hotels and though they weren’t cheap at all I really wanted to shower and sleep in a bed because I drove a lot and needed the rest. So instead of getting all worked up over not finding an Air BnB room or decent priced hotel, I just paid for a hotel room and that was that.

So I get my room and once I opened the door, I saw that the room did not have sheets and a blanket on the bed, as if housekeeping forgot to clean it. I go back to the lobby and get another room. It’s smaller but it is clean. However, I find out later that the shower doesn’t work and I can only take a bath. Then I get an email indicating that my credit card declined an automatic payment from my gym because I had forgotten to put more money on my credit card after reactivating my Hulu account. Doh!

Of course, at this point I would’ve been livid because I just drove all day, and was super tired and hungry but instead my brain function in a calm way and I just went with it. I didn’t go back to the lobby to complain, I just took a bath, paid my credit card, ate some food, chilled out and meditated before I went to sleep. This was awesome because I didn’t waste a lot of my energy getting livid and complaining about things that are out of my control. I was able to control the one thing I do have control of, which is the way I respond. And damn my response was on par and it felt really fucking good!

Even though I had only spent 11 days consistently meditating, the habit came back easily because I had started picking up the habit before. It’s almost like swimming, once you learn, you can’t unlearn or have to relearn all over again. You just pick the habit back up where you left off. The habit may be a little rusty at first but will smooth out pretty easily.

Once the habit is ingrained and you keep the momentum going, your response to just about anything will naturally be efficient without you trying. Therefore, you will only see everything from an observation point of view instead of getting lost in the ocean of emotions like your friend who just got dumped.

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Photo: A view of the Pacific Ocean from a vista point located in San Simeon, California

 

 

 

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The Problem With Awareness

What is awareness?

Awareness is the ability to derive an explanation about something beyond the surface of understanding.

What do I mean? Let’s talk about jealousy.

Last night I went to IHOP for dinner. Yep, dinner. The guy who was practically running the show (host, server, busser) was in a great mood and really talkative as I walked up to pay. He was having a conversation with one of the cooks about jealousy and how he couldn’t understand why he considered himself to be “the shit” and have all this confidence but still gets very jealous. So, as I’m paying my check, he asked me if I get jealous. I was a little hesitant to answer him just because I just knew I’d confuse the shit out of him with my answer and not because it was some random question I’m sure most people would take offense to. I did decide to answer just to see how he’d respond and he responded just the way I thought.

I replied, “Of course I get jealous, because if I was never jealous, I wouldn’t be human. It’s a matter of how you balance your jealousy.”

His response was priceless. He went from really talkative and confident to really quiet and confused. After a few seconds he asked me what I meant, then asked me what I do for a living.

I just told him that jealousy is a natural human emotion and to not have even just a little bit of it, would make me unhuman. As humans, we are housed with all sorts of emotions because we are mortal and survival depends on our emotions and how well we balance them with our ego. The more untamed your ego is, the more jealous you become as well. This is what separates us from artificial intelligence as their ego always coincides with emotion because that’s the ultimate goal of every human. They have it easy. But as humans, we cannot obtain that ultimate goal so easily as life is all about constantly putting in the work towards learning how to balance your ego with your emotions.

Then I proceeded to leave by telling him that I confuse people for a living. Boy was he confused when I left.

Was my ego lit from that explanation? Nah.

He asked me a question in which most people would respond with either no or yes because of their surface understanding of the word jealousy and the negative connotations that are attached to it. My response wasn’t just based on philosophical principles, it was also logical, based on the awareness of human emotions and I wanted to share that with him.

The problem with awareness in this case is the fact that I see jealousy as something more than being a negative emotion. I see it beyond the surface as an emotion that helps us to evolve when balanced correctly and also an emotion that emphasizes the beauty of being a human. However, I cannot emphasize that awareness to most people because they do not understand due to lack of awareness and, therefore, would consider me “too deep” and confusing.

All people see is just a dull thought of how jealousy is “bad” because it’s an easy and simplified way to understand something without much brain activity. End of story. And because more people are unaware than aware, and majority rules, the aware ones are considered outliers, weird and awkward. Well, how else are we supposed to communicate with you to where you can understand? Annoyance level 100.

However, to be truly aware is to acknowledge that our annoyance stems from our own lack of awareness of understanding that most people don’t know any better and we can’t blame them. It simply isn’t their fault. That’s where learning to balance compassion comes in and this is something I do struggle with.

Becoming more aware is trying to balance your compassion level with your annoyance level. It’s not easy and, like I’ve mentioned before, is a continuing process but continuous effort does need to happen. You want to be compassionate and understanding of the unintended and restricted thought process of most people but know there’s more to life than superficial conversations and surface level small talk.

So what do you do? It’s a battle and definitely a challenge that comes with becoming aware. However, I feel more people are becoming aware so the annoyance level should pipe down to a minimum at some point.

What do you think? Do you consider yourself to think beyond the surface of most things in life? I’m curious.

 

 

Why Is Life Hard?

Life is only hard if we make it that way.

Everything we experience derives from perspective. Nothing in life should ever be hard, but rather challenging. Challenges are there to wake us up to what we need to do to overcome the inevitable obstacles in life and improve ourselves. It’s up to you whether you want to face the challenges head on or look away. But if you look away, nothing ventured, nothing gained. And when nothing is gained, life is hard.

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Photo: Solo hiking adventures at McKinney Falls State Park in Austin, Texas.

 

 

Handling Bad Days

We all have them and will continue to have them. Some days are more intense than others, but if we are prepared, we can handle “bad days” like a boss.

Bad days are days where we perceive, not experience, many things go “wrong” throughout the day. They have the ability to trigger us in many ways to the point of causing us to completely lose our shit, multiple times, by the end of the day.

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Understanding Human Nature

About a week ago, I was watching some random YouTube video and a recommended video came up about Robert Greene’s new book, “The Laws of Human Nature”.

I was so stoked on this as Robert Greene is one of my favorite authors. I just thought it was strange because the video I was watching was completely irrelevant. It was a video about a gym challenge on pull ups, squats, deadlifts and bench press, where 3 guys had to do 100 of each in a certain amount of time. You can watch it here if that piques your interest.

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What Makes A Great Teacher?

To me, a great teacher is one who loves to learn but doesn’t primarily focus on trying to teach. The teaching just comes naturally.

I feel this way because from all of the teachers, whether grade school teachers, professors, instructors, etc. that I’ve had, the ones I learned from the most, were the ones who were always open to learning from their students while they expressed everything that they’ve already learned or experienced.

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