How I got high with chicks in yoga pants and became a spiritual guru

Mindfulness: a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

So much of the last year was an entirely new experience for me. Through a round about path, I got introduced to yoga, mindfulness, and meditation. I pretty much got dragged into a random yoga class one day with a couple family friends. I didn’t really go into it expecting anything. I also didn’t go into it with any reservations either. One of the most important things I’ve learned from touring and seeing a lot of random cities in the US is no matter what environment you get thrown into, you need to attack it with an open mind. So when a couple of friends invited me to a yoga class one day I figured, Fuck it. Let’s give it a try.

That experience turned out to be the catalyst that led me on a year long (and still continuing) spiritual journey into yoga, mindfulness, and meditation.

I know what you’re thinking — because I was one of these skeptics before — when people start talking about spirituality, religion, metaphysics, whatever — shit gets weird. Understandably so. A lot of the material you find on spirituality and mindfulness is super heavy, conceptual stuff written by guys with PHD’s in psychology. To someone who doesn’t have any experience practicing mindfulness, this can be incredibly overwhelming.

I think the difficulty in accessing the right information in a straightforward way is a key reason a lot of people don’t ever explore their own spirituality. It remains reserved for a counter-culture, niche group of people that seemingly speak their own language and do their own thing. Word doesn’t spread. Or worse, it gets watered down and ends up in shitty magazines on shelves at Whole Foods. Who decided spirituality was an elite club?

Mindfulness, meditating, or just being a little bit more open-minded about the world around you doesn’t have anything to do with how much almond milk you buy, or whether or not you can afford Lululemon clothes. One of my biggest reasons for starting this publication is to counteract these falsehoods and make this type of thinking attainable to the average young person.

Mindfulness is about embracing your day-to-day existence without trying to change the circumstances around you.

We all have an urge inside of us to solve problems. We have an urge to make decisions. We love measuring achievements. We love telling ourselves that we are making progress, that we are leaving our mark in this world. Finding problems in our life, and then figuring out solutions, is our way to feed that urge.

Unfortunately we don’t always think about the solutions to these problems in the right way. We gravitate to quick-fix solutions because problems that are hard to solve make us feel like there is something wrong with us. It’s not entirely our fault. American marketing has conditioned us to think this way. Buy this and you’ll be happy! Buy that and people will think you’re awesome! Now buy something else!

We all make impulsive decisions in an attempt to hurriedly solve a problem, and although this may relieve the issue briefly, eventually the problem comes back manifested in other ways in our lives.

Mindfulness is about having the patience and courage to sit with these problems instead of frantically racing around to try to come up with solutions. It doesn’t matter if it’s a trivial “problem” or a serious challenge. It’s about making an effort to identify what’s really going on at the core. It’s about understanding that just because there are problems or hardships doesn’t mean we have to be miserable. It’s about not freaking out when something doesn’t go our way, or when we feel at war with the world, but instead just letting ourselves be.

There comes a time after you think like this for long enough when all of the sudden things are immensely clearer. It becomes so much easier to operate through your day-to-day because you really feel a sense of purpose and understanding of yourself and your core values. Moving through your life with purpose, feeling good, putting full attention into the present moment or activity, appreciating the little experiences — that is being spiritual. All of us aspire to be like that. Therefore, mindfulness and spirituality can be for all of us. It doesn’t need to be some weird hippy thing.

Once you understand what mindfulness is, you may be interested in meditating as a way to help you carve out some time during your day to get away from your phone and simply exist. That’s all it is. Meditation does not need to be some incredibly complex thing. It is not some exclusive practice that only real ‘cool’ spiritual people on Instagram can do.

Again we see this barrier to entry for spirituality — but I’m here to cut through the bullshit for you.

You can meditate today.

All you need to do is sit down comfortably, close your eyes and take slow deep breaths and focus all your attention on what those slow, deep breaths feel like. See what happens. See where your mind goes. Don’t try and find solutions for problems or make sense of thoughts, just experience them and focus on how you feel. As your mind wanders bring your focus back to your breath, and repeat.

Whether you are a woman, a guy, an athlete, a music kid, gay, straight, black, brown, whatever- everybody can benefit from practicing mindfulness. Although it’s true mindfulness can be a powerful tool to help you get through any hardship in your life, you don’t need to be experiencing hardship to reap the benefits of mindful thinking. This practice is a tool for everyday living. It’s especially helpful when used to approach the values and goals list talked about here.

I’ll continue to write more on this subject, as I did not get into anything about yoga in this article, but since writing my first piece I got a ton of questions about how to get into meditation, mindfulness, yoga and spirituality in general. I’ll leave a few links here for other material you can check out on the subject. As always feel free to drop me a message with any questions and I’ll try and get back to you, or address it in another post.