My first encounter with meditation was through a Japanese girl I met in a dive bar. She sat at the counter dressed in something that looked like a sari, with feathers in her hair, and black eyeliner. I couldn’t stop looking at her. We talked for a while, she told me she was into meditation. I asked her if she wanted a drink, she said she was fine. I figured she was just being polite and Japanese, so I ordered her a gin tonic, but when the drinks came she was gone. I never saw her again.
For the next few years I figured meditation was esoteric new-age bullshit for star children who drifted through the world without a care. A while ago another Japanese girl with feathers in her hair drifted into my life, again I was told about meditation. Fortunately this girl with feathers in her hair stuck around, but I figured I’d learn something about meditation just incase this girl drifts off into the night as well.
My journey into meditation began with the app Calm. Through Calm’s 10 minute mindfulness sessions, I learned the basics of meditation. I followed the app’s advice for about 21 days and then I went on my own. During this period I learned a lot. Below I’ll share a couple of things I learned.
1. Live and let die
There’s a guy at my gym who weighs about a 110 pounds, jumps around like a squirrel on methamphetamine, and curls in the squat rack. Before every rep he does about ten karate kicks, makes high pitched noises, and then does the Ali shuffle. I try to ignore him but he’s always doing his stupid shit in the corner of my eye. I’d like to grab a 38kg dumbell and bash his skull in. Meditation made me realize this is simply not worth it.
The guy at my gym will eventually die of old age, cancer, or meet some horrible fate I can’t even imagine. Life is full of surprises. Everything passes. In life you need to focus on the positive things. This is a belief that is enforced through daily meditation.
2. It’s good to take a step back and reflect
A while back I saw this fat guy in a track suit eating a hot dog. He had greasy pockmarked skin, lips were covered in mustard, when I passed him he gave of this pungent stench that made me gag. I imagined setting him on fire.
A couple of days later I saw him again, this time he was eating pizza. I thought to myself, what if I just wish this guy well. What if I were to think positive thoughts. So I imagined him being happy, losing weight, meeting a nice girl, buying a house, smiling, laughing, playing with his children etc. I felt better, when he passed me. I smiled at him, he just stared at me with his beady eyes. I was slightly irked but figured he’d die of heart disease anyway so I smiled and nodded.
Through meditation I was able to recognize my own thought patterns and was able to divert them. While I’m certain that it would feel amazing if I set this guy on fire, it wouldn’t do me any good in the long run. Negativity breeds negativity, so it’s good to take a step back and look at your own thought patterns and not set fat people on fire. Meditation gives you the space to do this.
3. When you assume, you make an *ass* out of *u* and *me*
In the app Calm there was a story about a man who lost a horse. The villagers from the town he lived in came to him and lamented his loss. The man shrugged off the villagers with a solemn: maybe. The next day the man’s horse came back and brought three wild horses along. The villagers told him he was lucky, again he said maybe. The next day the man’s son tried to tame one of the wild horses. The son broke his leg and would forever walk with a limp. The villagers told the man he was unlucky, again the man said maybe.
A couple of days later a war broke out, the army came up to the village to enlist young men for service. When they saw the son’s limp they saw him unfit for service. Again the villagers came to the man and said he was lucky, again he said maybe. The point being, you don’t know what’s coming. There’s nothing wrong with that. Life is full of uncertainties. So I try my best now to reserve judgement, I don’t know what’s going on in people their lives. Everyone has a right to happiness, even fat people and guys who curl in the squat rack.
4. Sometimes it’s good to view things from another angle.
While meditating my mind often drifts off to past experiences. One particular experience I spent a long time kicking myself for was a date I assumed I’d completely fucked up. I met a pretty girl at a Halloween party. I walked up to her, introduced myself, and got her number.
We met up for coffee a couple of days later. During the date I acted like a cartoon character. I laughed too hard at every joke, exaggerated my accomplishments and said nothing sincere. When I asked her out on a second date, she said no, I dismissed her as a stuck up bitch.
The truth is I have no idea how I came across, nor will I ever know why she said no to a second date. By viewing her as a bitch and myself as the victim I constructed a handy narrative for myself with which I could dismiss the situation. Meditation allowed me to look past this frame, I was able to experience my feelings without the narrative. She was simply not ready to handle my manliness, and that’s fine.
5. Meditation will make you go harder in the gym
Meditation will teach you to focus your breathing which will allow you to pace yourself better. During deadlifts I no longer hold my breath or clench my teeth (unless a hot girl is looking). My breathing is more controlled and relaxed. Proper breathing helped me improve my form and up my max rep. Better form means heavier weights, bigger guns and hotter girlfriends.
6. You will become more patient
Another benefit of meditation is that it builds patience, by spending time on a single activity you become more focused. You can apply this same focus in the gym. When I did reps I’d use a meditation technique called scanning, I’d use this technique to breathe into my muscles. It’s not actually possible to breathe into your muscles, it is possible to focus on them. To feel every movement and to go for full range of motion while being mindful of every contraction. I felt I got more out of my workouts because of this technique.
7. More Japanese girls with feathers in their hair will drift in and out of your life
Japanese girls with feathers in their hair like men who meditate, this is a fact of life. Meditation will make you radiate a sense of calm that attracts them. This is the true secret. Meditation isn’t esoteric bullshit for new-age star children, it’s set of techniques that can be applied to improve the quality of your life. Meditation is about becoming aware of your own behavior. It’s about finding the courage to take a hard look at yourself while at the same time making peace with yourself. The core tenets of meditation are that you must be willing to accept reality, not set fat people on fire, only then will you be able to change and not kill the guy who curls in the squat rack.
Omar Breeveld is a contributing writer with Iloveyou500. Connect with him on WordPress.