If you think that I’m an asshole now, be grateful you didn’t know me in my youth. Seriously, I was such a nightmare that I’m amazed I’m still alive. I was reckless, temperamental and thought I knew a lot more than I did. It was not a good time and the worst part was that I didn’t even know I was suffering.
One day I met someone who was a bigger asshole than I was and I came real close to kicking his ass. Something, somewhere told me to shut up and listen to the guy and doing so ended up saving my life. This isn’t a joke or an exaggeration in any way.
I did it to prove him wrong
I had read about meditation and dabbled in it when I was practicing martial arts but it never did anything for me and seemed like a waste of time. You just sit and breathe, what’s the point right? I started talking to the Old Man and he gave me a few simple instructions.
°Find a quiet place
He said if I did this I’d feel better and honestly, I thought he was full of shit. I went home, I sat down and I started to breath and it turns out that it was a lot harder than I thought it would be yet when I was able to let go, I started to find peace. It was only fleeting since as soon as I got into the state, my mind would start fucking with me yet it was enough to keep me interested.
What is it and why does it matter?
You sit, you breath, you let go. Anything else kind of overcomplicates it. Yeah sure, there are a bunch of different methods on how to sit and how to breath but let’s keep it simple for now.
You might not realize it but your mind is rarely at peace or present in the moment. You’re distracted, you’re stressed, you’re either stuck in the past or dreaming of the future but you can’t sit still in the here and now and just be. I understand, it sucks. Even after years of practice, I still get thrown off balance and stuck in my own bullshit.
It sounds easy but when you try it, you’ll see how much your mind likes to play and how hard it is to let go and focus on your breathing. Don’t let it discourage you, this isn’t a competition. Just refocus your breathing and let it go. It’s going to take a few tries and you will get frustrated but it does get easier with time.
Forget about the religious aspect
First off, most people associate meditation with Buddhism which is a philosophy, not a religion. Secondly, you can be or not be whatever you want to label yourself as and meditation isn’t in any way a conflict of interest. You’re still just sitting and breathing and centering yourself. Jesus is not going to be pissed and there’s nothing stating that meditation is bad.
But why should you do it?
Do you enjoy being stressed and struggling all the time? Do you enjoy living in a constant state of fear and self doubt? Yeah, me neither.
Meditation allows you to find a sense of peace.
The Old Man used to constantly remind me that the state we’re in while we sit is our natural state of being. It’s our minds that start messing it up, labeling everything as good and bad, up or down and while it might be a great thing for the evolution of our species, it gets out of hand and often leaves us miserable. Meditation won’t change the world but it will help you come to level of acceptance.
It’s free, you can do it anywhere and you don’t need any equipment
I’ve never been a big fan of the formal sitting thing yet a lot of people get into it. I meditate on the bus, I’m sitting and letting go and focusing on my breath. People get on people get off and I’m fully aware of everything going on yet I’m not paying any attention to the distractions.
When I’m going down a hill on my longboard, I have to be in a state of meditation, I have to be relaxed yet focused and respond naturally since I don’t have time to think when I’m at speed. If I get tense I’ll eat gravel every time.
Same thing in the Kitchen. Half the time I’m not even there during the rush. I’ve learned over the years that it’s best to get the hell out of my own way and just cook. As soon as I start thinking and my ego gets involved, I lose my rhythm and it all goes sideways.
It’s a tool
I’m not saying that mediation will fix all of your problems or anything like that. It’s not a cure all yet it is an effective tool that works. If it didn’t, do you really think my slacker ass would have continued to do it on a daily basis for the past fifteen years? No, I wouldn’t. It’s never gotten me laid either yet I will say that it’s helped me be less nervous on first dates.
When you pray, you’re talking, when you meditate, you listen.
I’m not expecting any of you to start sitting every morning for a half an hour cross legged and chanting the Om. What I am challenging you to do is the next time you’re having a rough night at work and you go for a smoke, leave your phone inside and just sit and breathe. Forget about everything for just a minute and just breathe. See how you feel and how the rest of the night goes. Do this a few times then tell me I’m full of shit….