Why You Should Care About What People Think of You

To not care is based on an act of fear.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. You can accept it as truth or not. But regardless, you should always accept their opinion but stay neutral.

Anyone who has an opinion of you, whether positive or negative, is actually offering you their time and you should be so honored because time is very valuable. Think about it. If they really didn’t care to have an opinion of you, you would not waste any of their time. But the fact that anyone has any opinion of you is giving you something very valuable. And it goes the other way, any time you respond, you give them a piece of your time. Staying neutral is far more less time given than anger, wouldn’t you agree?

So just accept opinions as truth or not, stay neutral towards them, thank them for the time they have given you and then move along. When you do this, you are actually standing up to an act of fear being brought upon you, not running away from it. Cheers!

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The Important Shit We Forget

Memory is a funny thing.

I seem to remember a lot of the shit I don’t want to remember, yet always forget a lot of the shit I need to remember.

From mid December 2018 to the end of January 2019, I felt balanced and life was flowing.

I had just left Austin, Texas to road trip back to San Jose, California. I had meditated pretty much every day while I was in Austin from the end of November to mid December. Meditation pretty much gave me clarity on my next move, which was to road trip back to San Jose. I had no clue why, but I just followed what I had picked up on from meditation.

I drove back to San Jose and started working with Amazon Flex again. I also stayed at a hostel like AirBnB that was within my budget and that wasn’t too far away from my gym and work. But what was really cool about this place was meeting a lot of really cool people from all over. It almost felt like home.

Working for Amazon Flex went really awesome this time around because I was always able to pick up work, the deliveries were super fun and easy, the pay increased since the last time I was there and I was actually delivering to really beautiful neighborhoods. And then when I was done working, I would come back to the AirBnb and socialize with my housemates all night long.

It was all super fun and I was just super excited that I was able to make money, live somewhere cool, socialize with awesome people, go to the gym every day and just be busy all the time, which is something I love. I was also really happy to finally reconnect with a really good friend of mine who I became very close and intimate with since August of 2018 but had a falling out with right before Halloween. I blogged about him in Respecting Nature.

Things were just flowing really well and I was so busy with all these things that I had forgotten to meditate every morning and remind myself of the Stoic practice of premeditatio malorum and the Stoic principle of memento mori, as I’ve described in my blog Handling Bad Days.

I was so busy with everything going right in my life that I completely forgot to prepare myself for when everything may go wrong. And it did. All at once. And I was completely knocked on my ass, even though it was me who manifested it.

So what happened?

All within days of each other in the same week, during the full moon total lunar eclipse, the people I became very close with at the AirBnb started to depart, the work with Amazon started to dry up and become very complicated, I was asked to leave the AirBnb I was staying at because I was the only one who was caught drunk out of the housemates I was out partying with (which became a new rule of the AirBnb – zero tolerance for intoxication) and I had a really horrible falling out with my really good friend, once again. So basically, I was left with no friends, no work, no place to stay and a bad heartbreak within days of each other.

Everything just came crashing down and because I had forgotten to meditate every day and forgot to remind myself of the vital importance of premeditatio malorum and memento mori, I reacted instead of responded.

If I had just remembered to meditate every day when things were flowing so well, I would’ve been able to handle all the shit that was served to me that week like a boss. But instead I fell victim. I just made a lot of what I would consider unstoic-like decisions, which means making decisions based on negative emotions, instead of staying head strong. However, now remembering memento mori, it’s in the past and it is what it is.

As I think about the entire experience in San Jose, after hours of recent meditation, I’ve come to acknowledge that it was all a huge test that was handed to me not too long after I blogged about The True Benefit of Meditation. With that said, isn’t it funny how we forget to practice the very same principles that we preach, until it is handed to us in the form of a test? For that I cheers to the next test of adversities that may be handed to me, with the intentions that I remember all the important shit I preach about!

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Photo: Bell Rock in Sedona, Arizona this morning. Yep, I’m back here at the huge electric (upflow) rock once again to recharge and recenter myself. Works. Every. Time.

 

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

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Why You Should Force Yourself to Meditate Consistently

Meditation is like going to the gym consistently for the first month – it’s very difficult to do when you first start and very easy to quit.

I quit a lot in 2018 when it came to meditating but was way more consistent with going to the gym. I only know this because of my physical strength in comparison to my mental strength. I’m pretty damn strong physically, more than ever now, but my mind is still struggling to catch up.

I know all the benefits of meditating and how imperative it is to develop it as a habit because I blogged a lot about it. Some of my best written blogs came when I was meditating daily back in January and February. However, because this year has thrown me so many challenging curve balls during the development of this habit, I fell out of meditating before it became a habit, several times. This only caused me to get lost in the sauce all year long by continuously forgetting everything I personally feel that contributes towards mental strength – the philosophy of Stoicism and the philosophy of Buddhism. These two philosophies compliment each other very well and actually almost run parallel with one another.

When I look back to everything I experienced this year, the only thing I would’ve changed was my meditating habit by FORCING myself to be consistent with it.

Would it change anything that happened to me this year? No because everything is based on perspective. You cannot change what happens to you, you can only change your perspective.  If I had forced myself to meditate, regardless of what was going on around me, I either would’ve handled everything more effectively or not noticed any challenges whatsoever because I wouldn’t be triggered by much, not even the dark night of the soul. When you are triggered by something, that’s an indication that there’s something in your mind that needs attention.

This year was definitely a year I needed to force the meditation habit because there was a lot that happened to where it would’ve saved me a lot of energy. Out of the 37 years of my life, this was by far the most difficult and challenging year I’ve EVER experienced. I cannot tell you how confused and misunderstood I felt all year long and how annoyed I was from feeling confused and misunderstood. Basically, I was just lost all year long, but that’s ok, shit happens right? Time to move forward, not get lost in the past.

And so as the year comes to an end, I made a promise to myself that I would force myself to meditate every day for at least 20 minutes, regardless of where I’m at. I’ve already seen major results in the efforts I’ve put in towards going to the gym on a daily basis but I want my mind to outperform the progress of my body because the mind is more powerful than the body.

The mind is our consciousness which is responsible for generating all the matter that our physical body and organs are made from and keeps them functioning. So, if you think about it, you can be in the best shape of your life physically, but if your mind is trash, you’re limited. However, if you’re mind is in the best shape it’s ever been, but your body is trash, it won’t matter because your mind has the unlimited potential to adapt and change. Besides, the human body is only a temporary housing spot for our consciousness in order to experience life as a human. Get what I’m saying?

So with that said, I need to make some major gains with this mind of mine by forcing meditation consistently now that I’ve seen major results with the way I’ve forced myself to go to the gym consistently. And plus, the mind is a forever energy, so as a human, now is the time to tap into that while I can.

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Photo: A panoramic photo I took yesterday of Lake Travis from the patio of the Oasis Texas Brewing Company in Austin, Texas.