Results of Jedi Training

I turned 27 on May 5th- it was depressing. I’ve been a part of two excellent startups and one awesome company, but somehow I’m not satisfied. I’ve made a promise to myself that 3 years from now, by the time I turn 30, I’ll have my own company making at least 100k a year. The end of the year goal 6 months from now- is 20k profit. I believe it’s doable, and I’m currently taking the steps to make it happen. I also had a week off from work- it was needed.

I decided to go to the Hindu temple in Brea- there’s a 90 year old monk I know there who always invites me to spend a few nights with them, learn meditation and ask any tough questions I might have. So, that’s what I did. I left me computer at home, packed up my backpack with a weeks worth of clothing, grabbed 4 books, and went down to the temple.

The four books I took were

The Obstacle is The Way by Ryan Holiday

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

and Trust Me I’m Lying also by Ryan Holiday

I’ve read 48 Laws and TMIL multiple times, but I’m trying to internalize both of them. I’m using TMIL to basically carve out a career path for myself. It is a very important book- a playbook of how to use the media to your advantage. I’m supplementing this book with two additional books from David Meerman Scott- also highly recommended by Ryan Holiday. (I sound like a fanboy, but the fact is that he has an easy to understand writing style, and I’m currently devouring any information I can on news, PR, and marketing. It’s something I want to be excellent at.)

To me, 48 Laws of Power basically amounts to mental self defense- I learn the strategies, and I find that I can apply them immediately in my own life. Especially Law 13. (Appeal to people’s self interest, not sense of pity or duty).

The other two books, Meditations and Obstacle is the Way, have been on my “need to read” list for a while. Obstacles showed up at my doorstep on my birthday so I was excited to read it. Both books were amazing. Even more amazing is how much overlap there is in between the philosophies of the Vedas in Hinduism and the practical applications of stoicism.

It was really fucking surprising to be reading the book, and coming across tidbits that my 90 year old monk friend had just mentioned not an hour before. There were highly practical tidbits that overlapped like how to react to events that happen to you and around you “no event is bad. Only your thinking it makes it so.” Also how to view luxuries (this steak is just dead flesh. This wine just old grapes) and to resist temptations.

I’m really glad I went. My biggest takeaway was about fear- when you feel nervous or afraid of taking action- usually it means that you really need to go do that thing. There’s no easy way to do it, so grit your teeth, plan what you can, take action, and don’t worry about the results. They don’t matter. All that matters is what you do, how well you do it, that you put all your effort into it, and whether you’re prepared to take action again, regardless of how well or poorly it went.

Now, time to get to work!


Meditation, Atheism, and Jedi Apprenticeships.

I was brought up Hindu, but as of now, I’m atheist. I’d like to think that I’m a practical person- anecdotes and dogma have no place in my life. I prefer to practice methods which have been tested and proven, so you can see why blue ten-headed gods might seem a bit far-fetched.

Back to Hinduism though. Our family has known a monk- you could call him our spiritual councilor- for over 50 years. When my grandfather first left India and moved to New York, this monk was there. He was there when my parents met, when they got married, and even when I came into the world. He’s seen 3 generations of my family grow up and get established.

At 90 years old, Swami Purnatmananda Maharaj still surprises me. His thinking is clear. His memory, sharp. He’s up at 4:30 in the morning and works all day, tends to the woes of all the people who come to him for advice, and he leads the daily prayers. Not only that, but he’s also a senior monk in his order- Bharat Seva Ashram Sanga, it’s called. This is an international charity with emphasis on helping humanity- not pushing religion. Their motto basically means “service before self.” So their agenda isn’t converting people- it’s helping the poor. As an organization, they are amazing, because monks don’t get paid. Every cent past maintaining the organization goes towards building hospitals, curing the sick. No one has a financial interest in the whole organization- and that’s really impressive-really rare. No western charity or church can claim that. Here in the US, pastors can be wealthy. Not so much with this organization…no one man benefits from the organization more than any other- and regardless of the fact that they are a religious organization, I like that 95% plus of the money donated goes directly to the people.

Anyways, I was listening to Tim Ferriss’ podcast with Josh Waitzkin, and they were discussing meditation. So I took some notes and over this past weekend, I brought up meditating to this monk. He’s in Yorba Linda for now so I’m lucky to have access to him. He told me to come down for a week, and he’d teach me all the basics of controlling my mind and my emotions. Anger, fear, insecurity- all of it could be controlled. This is really appealing to me…I mean the guy is basically yoda, despite the obvious physical differences and lack of light saber/ levitation powers. But he knows the Jedi mind tricks- that much is clear. Imagine being able to remain perfectly calm while starting a new business. Or being able to feel fear, lean into it, and turn it into an asset. Imagine being able to suppress all of the “I’m not ___enough” comments in your head, or making all of the self limiting excuses go away.

I’m skeptical as always, but will put effort into this. I respect this man a lot- I’ve never met anyone as selfless, sharp, or alert as he is at 90. So I won’t be writing for a week or so. This is as close as I’ll ever get to a Jedi Apprenticeship, so I might as well take it.

see you in a week.