Forgive me for generalizing, but as far as I see it, there are two types of people in this world: those who are generally open-minded…and those who divide people into categories.
As you can see, I fall into the latter group.
Obviously, like most people, I wouldn’t immediately think to categorize myself as narrow-minded, buuuut I am willing to admit that when it comes to my perspective on a few things, I’m a bit set in my ways.
You see, I’m a pragmatist. A realist. I live in the world of the practical, the tangible. I crave evidence, I require proof. And, in a very real way, I’m turned off by anything that comes off as anything less than logical.
As a result, I view about 99% of things people talk about as bullshit. Pure and utter bullshit.
And because I’m kind of a solidly aggressive New York asshole, I can’t just let the bullshit slide off my back. It gets stuck in my craw, and I immediately just get this weird tinge in my spine that makes my neck hurt and all I want to do is tell people to shut up.
Let me give you an example: a friend of mine recently posted a picture on Instagram of a bunch of crystals. Yes. Crystals. The caption listed the crystals, and gave a brief description what each of them “does.”
…yeah. As in, she actually believes that wearing a necklace with kyanite on it is going provide extra mental clarity. Because, you know. That makes sense.
Look, I WANT to pretend to be open minded, and I WANT to say things like, “believe what you want” but the fact is, apparently I’m a narrow minded dick. Because reading that was enough to make me want to end my friendship with this person.
As much as I’d love to live my life like it was taking place in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting, the fact is, wearing a ring set with moonstone isn’t going to protect me from lycanthropy, and I’m not going to get +2 to my melee attacks from wearing a Girdle of Frost Giant Strength.
Your crystals are bullshit.
Another example: a friend of mine sent me a text a few weeks back that implied “everyone” was acting “crazy” because of the full moon.
Let me say that again: BECAUSE OF THE FULL MOON.
No. Just…just no.
I can’t get behind shit like that. And I wish I was a big enough person to just ignore it and move on with my day, but I sit and dwell on it and think, “what the shit actually happened in this person’s life to convince them that CRYSTALS and FULL MOONS are actually going create a tangible effect in their life?”
Seriously, I want to know.
My point is, I pretty much can’t abide anything that can’t be proven. I have no tolerance for shit that just flat out doesn’t make sense. It bothers me.
Naturally, this applies to the following: pretty much anything vegan; everything and anything having to do with spirituality; people who assert disconnecting from your cell phone is the key to unlimited happiness; those ACTUALLY believe sugar is “just as bad” as cocaine; people who are intolerant of other people’s cultures; the Dutch.
Now here’s the thing: Looking at that list–which I wrote up after the “full moon” conversation–I realized that there’s sort of a lot of shit in the world that annoys me. I also began to realize maybe I should chill the hell out and relax.
And after some conversations with Neghar, I realized maybe I’m wrong about a few things. Neg views the world a lot differently than I do, and while we’re not going to see eye to eye on everything, she’s one of the smartest people I know, so I have been trying to listen when she tells me I’m just being an idiot. (Good practice in general.)
So. I started looking into a few things I may have been wrong about.
Well–actually, that’s a bad way to phrase it.
I started looking at some stuff that I may have initially written off, because it didn’t fit neatly into my worldview; shit that seemed to “woo-woo” or like it was for hippies, and didn’t sit well with City folk like myself.
Turns out, there are a few things–things that seem like they are “spiritual” or whatever, but are actually fully backed up by science, research, and hundreds of years of anecdotal evidence saying, “yo, dumbass, this shit actually works.”
Topping that list is meditation.
Now, personally, I never thought I’d be the type to meditate. Outside of sounding like it was kind of on the border or that “this might be bullshit” category, the fact is that I tried it when I was 22, and after realizing that no matter how much I meditated that I was never going to be able to Force Choke someone basically gave up on it.
My lack of faith is no longer disturbing.
Eleven years later, I’m trying again. And, while I still can’t access the Force or project my spirit to the Astral Plane, I have to admit…it’s pretty awesome.
Which is to say: when it comes to meditation, I was wrong. Just flat out, completely incorrect.
As I mentioned, meditation is a proven practice. It’s been shown to help reduce stress, increase focus, and allow for a better overall sense of well being.
(You can imagine why it sounded like BS to me, right? It sounds like the world’s cheesiest sales pitch: “be happier! Increase energy! Learn to love yourself! Stop being so pissed off all the time!” The claims are endless.)
So for the past 11 years, I’ve discounted meditation nearly completely.
Mainly because, as it turns out, I AM a narrow-minded idiot.
This doesn’t mean I’m wrong about everything (crystals are still complete bullshit), it just means I’m wrong about meditation.
The main thing that changed my mind is a litter perspective. I realized that I was being completely truculent for no reason.
After all, SO many of the people I respect (Tim Ferriss, Arnold Schwarzenegger, among others) have been singing the praises of meditation for so long that not listening was just me being willfully ignorant.
I couldn’t tell you WHY I was being such a dick about it, other than having formed some stupid opinion and deciding to dig my heels in because I’m stubborn.
What I can tell you is why it changed.
I happened to meet a guy named Adam Michael Brewer
at a mastermind. He’s a meditation guy, and we had a conversation during which he challenged my beliefs. Adam asked me flat out, “are you just avoiding meditation because you think you’re going to suck at it?”
I thought about it and realized…yes. That was part of it. I was afraid to fail. Meditation is hard. Really, REALLY fricken hard.
When you think about what meditation is, it sounds like both the easiest thing in the world and the hardest: you just sit there for 30 minutes and TRY NOT TO THINK.
Calm your mind. Clear your thoughts. Center yourself.
Calm my mind!? I don’t know how to do that. Do it for THIRTY MINUTES? Who has time for that?
Forget it; I’l just keep hating on meditation, despite the evidence that it can help me.
Adam said, “Calming your mind will come after some practice. But I can help you with the second issue, the time. You only have to do it for 3 minutes.”
Three minutes sounded okay. I can do that, I thought.
So, I did. And he was right.
Since then, I’ve seen an increase in energy, seen an improvement in my personal relationships, and have experienced a greater clarity of thought.
Adam’s book, 3 Minute Meditations
is a short, simple, and uncomplicated introduction to meditation. The best part? You’ll get all these benefits while sitting for 1/10th the time of other meditation programs.
If you’ve tried meditating before and, like me, couldn’t stick with it, or have wanted to try it, but didn’t know where to begin, check out 3 Minute Meditations
. Within the book, Adams’ created a 28-day meditation challenge
where you’ll be asked to sit and meditate using the techniques he provides, for just 3 minutes a day.
It’s something anyone can do. And I’m confident that if you do, you’ll be hooked, just like me.
Because, it turns out, I was avoiding meditation for no reason. And I’m so glad that I’ve stopped.
The great philosopher So-Crates said that true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. While I’d like to believe that I know a thing or two about a thing or two, perhaps now that I can see how wrong I was about this one specific area, I’m on the path to enlightenment.
Or, at the very least, to not being so pissed off at people who want to believe in the power of crystals.
I’ll work on it.
In the meantime, I’m going to keep meditating, keep breathing, and keep trying to lift an X-Wing out of the swamps of Dagobah.