Why Meditation Scares The Crap Out Of Me

Mostly because it forces you to face yourself.  Nobody really tells you that.  They always talk about the wonderful medicinal benefits, but really, you have to go through hell and back before you see those benefits (that’s the asterisk and small print we don’t ever read).

The voices in my head during meditation/regular life?  They yell at me and tell me I’m not good enough mostly.  They scream at the top of their lungs HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU ARE MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICES YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT BUSINESS OR THE WORLD WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU WHY ARE YOU NOT QUITTING AND GETTING A NORMAL JOB YET.  Also the favorite YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE ALL THESE MISTAKES AND THEN YOUR LIFE WILL BE AWFUL AND YOU WILL HATE EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE WILL HATE YOU.  Finally, the chorus ends with something about YOU AREN”T PERFECT AND THUS YOU ARE TERRIBLE WHY DO YOU EVEN TRY PS YOU ARE FAT AND EVERYONE PROBABLY HATES YOU ALREADY.

Luckily, lately, I’ve  been learning how to listen to those voices and pretend like I am talking to the psycho that lives in my head that feeds my psychotic lies.  And I breathe through it and just think to myself, ok.  So what? There is pretty much nothing I can’t come back from.  If people come back from cocaine overdoses and go on to find god and start the next big thing since sliced bread, how the hell will I NOT be ok? Yeah I’ll probably mess up.  Maybe a lot (and by maybe I mean definitely). Maybe with systems that shouldn’t be messed with and I’ll burn my fingers and then not do that again.  Maybe nothing will happen and I’ll be like..cool. So this is the new boundary.  But you have to push the boundary. And the only way to do that is to realize that the voices in your head are not very nice.  They lack compassion. The real you is actually quite compassionate and forgiving.  The real you is the one that is noticing all these conversations going on in your head.  Some people call it “awareness” some people call it “soul”. I just call it the “real me”.

The real me actually says, well. I was made a certain way, and if things or circumstances needed to be changed then they would.  I must be enough the way I am.  Perfection is not the point. Ever.  In fact, perfection is the delusion we all live with.  You know the reason it’s not the truth? Because it’s different for everyone.  How can a universal truth be different for everyone? It can’t.  So there.  (Take that perfection).

And then once I am more advanced in meditative practices, the “real me” will probably be able to realize.. dude.  Why am I talking to a psycho? Why am I feeding psychotic tendencies? Why is that a thing I am doing in the first place?

Definitely not there yet, but at least that’s where I know I need to go.  Just…letting go of the psycho that somehow lives in my brain and has set up permanent shop.

 

 

My Spirituality Drives Me

When I was smaller, I just thought it meant helping people.  And that drove me for a long time.  As I’ve gotten older, I still don’t exactly know how to define this energy that lives inside, and I’m still trying to understand it, but that’s a huge part of what defines me.

I’ve been stealing pieces from things that I hear, discarding parts that I don’t agree with, and creating my own new thing.  I still don’t know what it will look like in the end, and I don’t even know if it will ever even be done, but this thing that I’m constructing is my code for life.  My code and my decoder.

The books that have influenced me the most are:

YouTube has a lot of great content as well.  The meditations I like are:

Meditation apps that I like (I haven’t paid for it yet but I still enjoy doing the free stuff): Headspace

If I had to distill it down, this is what I have so far:

  • Listen well, to yourself and everyone and everything around you.  We all need to find our purpose on this planet and the universe speaks to us in millions of ways.
  • We have to engage with life, not just think about it.  We also can’t just engage with life and not think about it at all either.  It’s about balancing both.
  • We can’t avoid pain.  Pain is how we grow, and is almost a necessity given the existence of it’s opposite: joy.  We need both in life to be whole.
  • Meditate to clear away all the crap, so you can make room for the good stuff to come in
  • Judgements are useless, especially judging yourself and other people
  • Your mind weaves stories that are also quite useless.  Entertaining and emotionally draining, but ultimately useless.
  • Feelings are important and you shouldn’t ignore them.  You should also not let them control you because they aren’t really you.  Feel them and let them pass through.
  • Altered states of consciousness aren’t helpful (unless you reached them on your own)
  • Compassion and empathy are key.  And if you aren’t compassionate to yourself, it’s really hard to be truly compassionate to everyone around you.

I think it’s a continually evolving process, but it’s what keeps me sane most of the time and what gets me through most days.  I’m just at the initial phases of attempting to put these into practice, but I’m hopeful that it will lead…somewhere good.

To be Continued.

If Time Is A Man-Made Concept, Why Is Patience A Virtue?

I think that’s why patience IS a virtue.  To help us understand that time is, in fact, a figment of our imagination.  Something that humans created to help us understand the complexities of life.  In Anita Moorjani’s book, Dying to Be Me, she talks about how she had a near death experience, and in those moments when she was conscious but not alive, she realized that everything in the universe was happening all at once.  Which, to me, makes sense (in a weird, quantum physics sort of way). I haven’t finished Stephen Hawkings book, A Brief History of Time, but at least the beginning sort of lends itself to support that idea.

Which means that if time is fake, then you’re really not missing out on anything.  You’ll get to it eventually, if not now, then maybe later.  (Which also lends itself to support this idea of “reincarnation“).

And maybe that is what Karma is- a whole lot of unresolved FOMO.  Which is strange as hell, but hey, life is stranger than fiction right?  And maybe that’s why people talk about living in the moment? So we don’t accumulate all these things that we want to be doing with our lives, all this fear that we aren’t…whatever, whatever-ing?

I have huge issues with FOMO, as do a lot of people my age, I think.  But if this is all really what I think it is, then maybe Ekhart Tolle and company is right.  Just focus on making the best damn time right now, because you’ll get to everything eventually. If you stop worrying about it.

Can I help it if I have an overanxious personality? Apparently, I can. Ugh.

Karma

To be honest, I never liked what I heard or read about karma before, because it sounded like a lot of scare tactics to try and scare people into “being good”.  Which, ever since I was a kid, never made sense to me. Because if my parents are right, and God is love, then why the heck is all this fear around this concept? So essentially I just stopped listening to whatever people would say and that was that.  At a high level, the idea of karma made sense to me, but I didn’t like the way anyone explained it- it just put me off all together.

But I finally heard a definition I like, or at least an interpretation I like, in Anita Moorjani’s book, Dying To Be Me.  Well, she kind of talked about her thoughts on the topic, which made me come to my own definition of it.  I think Karma is just the sum of all the things your soul needs to learn.  I do believe we are all here on this earth to learn different things, and that’s the whole reason karma exists- it’s not good or bad, it’s just simply, this is what my soul needs to learn in this life.

I also think there are things that help the soul learn, and things that move the soul towards what it needs to be doing and there are things that move the soul away from what it needs to be doing.  I feel like that is what people currently term “good” karma and “bad” karma.  I don’t think it’s an absolute at all, because in other realms I don’t think judgement exists, it’s a completely human term that helps us…I don’t actually know yet, but I don’t think it’s quite productive.  And for everyone it’s different.  But if the goal of soul realization has to do with love and compassion, then things moving towards that would be something we should probably strive for and things moving away from that are things that aren’t so great.

But I think the kicker is that we shouldn’t do anything based on fear, whatever it is.  Intention is important. Because at the end of the day, we’re going to learn what we need to learn, in whatever shape or form that is.  Which is pretty neat, actually.  It may take the form of crazy things, it may take the form of normal things, but I don’t think I’d like to use the term “good” karma or “bad” karma, just…stuff I need to learn to reach a higher state of consciousness.  

That is all. 

Startups and Spirituality: Part II

I think that running a startup implicitly makes you a spiritual person, because you inherently believe in an idea greater than yourself: a vision for the world after your company changes it.  it’s an undying belief that even if logically you should not go on, logically nothing makes sense, but something is telling you deep down to keep on pursuing, that something is what, in other contexts, people call faith.

Faith is what keeps you going even if you have no idea that what you’re doing is right, but you believe this thing that you are creating should exist in the world, it’s your contribution to humanity, and you want to keep trying until you can’t try any more.

I think that’s how you know if you’re running a startup for the right reasons. Those are the people I like working with.

It’s not about the money. It never is, or has been about the money. It’s about being a part of something greater than yourself.

Heretic, and crazy, maybe. But what can I say.

Moments of Insanity

There are moments, when you know, you KNOW, you are not in your right mind.  They are scary as hell because you know that your mind is telling you crazy things, and you know you should not listen to that crazy part of your brain, but you are drawing a blank as to what you SHOULD be listening to then.

Those are the scary moments in life.  When the terrible part of you is winning and is whispering awful beyond awful things in your ear and you feel like you have no other choice but to give in to those terrible things it is telling you.  

You are worthless

What are you trying to do here anyway? Why are you even trying?

You just plain suck. I don’t even understand why you exist.

You are not good enough. Just give up now.

And then your mind gets stuck in this terrible loop of trying to prove itself wrong.  And so you think about all the ways you can work harder, prove your mind wrong, prove the worst part of yourself wrong. Which, when you think about it logically, is just an infinite mind fuck loop from hell. That your brain is stuck in.

Those are the god awful moments of insanity. When you get stuck in the infinite loop of awful. And you don’t see a way out of that loop. And it keeps playing, and you keep feeling worse and you start seeing yourself go on this downward spiral.

But that’s when you breathe. And lately, what I’ve been doing is just plain praying.  Not to anything or anyone in particular.  Maybe just to the ether, or the Universe, I don’t know. But I just keep repeating the same thing.  Please help me figure out how to get out of this terrible loop of insanity.  I recognize that it is insanity, but I can’t find my way out. Please please please help.  

And you know what? It/he/she/them/they/whatever/whoever/thingy does.  I don’t know how, and I don’t know why, but…it does.  And I am grateful. 

Because then I can get back to enjoying this thing I call my life.  Once all that insanity clears, it’s pretty great.  

Startups and Spirituality

I think this post is a long time coming, and especially on the third day of sickness, I when I’m just getting the remnants of the ish out of my system, I have a chance to think about what I want to write.  Over the years, I’ve thought about both these topics a lot, and over the last year, I’ve realized just how intrinsically connected they are, at least for me.

Spirituality, to me, is about being a better human being, a better citizen of humanity.  I think at the highest level, it’s about practicing love, especially in situations when you find yourself wanting to do anything else but forgive.  It’s about judging less, listening more, and being compassionate.  It’s also about living with integrity, whatever that truth is for you.  Other people call it mindfulness, self realization, zen, whatever you want to call it, I call it spirituality. Because for me, at the end of the day, I believe a higher power exists (in whatever form it is in) and humans are inherently good.  I believe life has a purpose, and our mission in life is to find it.  Plain and simple.

When you run a startup, you are thrown out there every day, usually in situations that bring out the absolute worst version of yourself.  It’s sort of like that Tom Cruise movie, Edge of Tomorrow, where day after day, he’s thrown into the same battle, but he tries to get a different outcome.  That’s sort of the game of life I see play out when you’re running a startup.

The reason I believe that startups and spirituality are so intrinsically tied together for me is because it’s pretty much life or death.  Not the, my startup is going to die if I don’t figure it out (because trust me, it won’t), but the I am contemplating killing myself (literally) because it is so emotionally and mentally taxing.  All those people who have run a startup know that contemplating suicide is actually part of the game.  It’s so normal it’s scary.  I know because I’ve been there, and it was probably one of the scariest moments of my life to date.  The thing is, I think everyone, at some point in time, has been there.  And chances are, if you haven’t been there, you will be.  Whether it be college, a relationship ending, startups, or whatever, our society has thoughts of suicide all the time.

But for me, my startup pushed me to that brink. It was a fleeting moment (a moment when I just realized, holy crap, did I just seriously consider that?) but it was enough.  And that’s where spirituality comes in.  Why is mindfulness, meditation, zen, self actualization becoming more common in the startup space? Because it’s really the only way we can stay sane and create beautiful things in this world. I think of my company as my artwork, my contribution to the world- and I am one of the artists creating it.  But I want to enjoy the journey, not despise every moment of it.

That being said, I want to take it a step further.  Mindfulness and zen is great, but I truly believe in compassion, integrity, and forgiveness at the workplace as well.  It’s about finding how those spiritual practices ACTUALLY make good business (and over the past few years I’ve seen that make a lot more sense).  I believe the future of business is good business, is spiritual practices, and an overall healing of the planet.  I think anything that doesn’t strive for that is going to be dead in the next 50 years (or at least on it’s way out).

I know it’s not a popular topic, God (or The Universe) in general is something that’s not cool to talk about for fear of being labeled a crazy person, especially when you relate it to tech and startups, but I’m calling it like I see it.

I believe in a higher power, and I believe that incorporating these practices into startups will actually make the world a better place.