Meditation is Just Another Obsession by Marcus Antebi
Meditation is just another obsession. Just another burden to inconvenience you. It’s something that people told you about that you probably would not have discovered on your own. Meditation is just a game that we play with ourselves to pass the time. Right?
We tell ourselves, “Hey, you’re making good progress,” or “Hey, you’re not making enough progress. Progress with what? That thing called “tranquility?”
Stillness of mind, tranquility, enlightenment.
Human beings create all these different systems of beliefs that are built upon systems of beliefs that someone taught us. We spend a lot of our lives convincing ourselves that all the stories are true. I meet people all the time that don’t really have an ounce of faith in God, but they talk themselves into it all the time. As I discern what they say and discern what I’m saying to myself, it appears that that person is trying to know God. But you can see in your actions that they appear to be walking alone.
We play all kinds of tricks on ourselves, and the tricks don’t end with the word meditation. We convince ourselves of what’s really going on in the reality of the universe and how we fit into it. We make up stories or we follow made-up stories. We talk ourselves into feeling that we’re happy.
If I am to become enlightened that is the first thing that I have to see. I have to see through all the bullshit. I have to dismantle each and every story and then put all of them back together again in the order that the universe tells me they are going. Because if meditation is real, then so is enlightenment of the mind. And the ultimate objective is stilling the mind.
I can test to see if my philosophy is good and righteous by watching the actions that I do in my life. If I'm lacking in compassion in any way then I am fraudulent. Everything that I do every day has to be in pursuit of being compassionate to all things. I have to do that because it serves as evidence that I am becoming awake.
If I take the right action, then it’s likely I’m going to feel a certain way. Taking a right action will not be a guarantee of a good result. But getting a positive result if I take the right action is the frosting on the cake. The most important thing that I can do in my life is the right thing. That is how I feel redeemed in the present moment.
It may become the legacy that I will leave behind for others to talk about. I care about what others may say about me throughout the ages. It’s a little thing that brings me comfort. It gives me a sense that life has meaning. It gives me a sense of being more timeless, beyond the time that I have in the physical body on earth. I want to leave good things that help people to free themselves from suffering.
I don’t have a messiah complex. I just recognize that a number of people taught me some things and so it’s my duty to teach them back. Then you, in turn, will teach them to someone else. And each time we pass information from one generation to the next the message gets better.
I do not want to get so caught up in my ego that I start to fade and disintegrate. It becomes a source of pain and worry. And that’s what I’m prone to. I am prone to worry and suffer. It is my proclivity to get overly engaged with my accomplishments, my body, my thought structures, and my possessions. I have to be extremely careful with how I deal with them, or I take the risk of causing myself unnecessary, unpleasant suffering.
When I was much younger, I hated that message because when I heard it I had to give up my ambition for a Ferrari. I had to let go of my desire to be seen as Marcus The Great Skydiver, Marcus The Thai Boxer, Marcus The Entrepreneur, Marcus This, and Marcus That. I identified with those things because I was an empty vessel. I didn’t have self-love and I didn’t have self-esteem. And so what I learned to do was to try to fill myself up with stuff.
So I went out and I filled myself up with stuff. But I felt just as empty.Don’t get me wrong—I’m grateful for all my stuff. I feel very appreciated, and I’m glad that I have a roof over my head and windows to let in the light and block out the rain. I don’t question the need for that kind of stuff. I’m grateful for shelter, food, friendships, transportation, and clothing.
It took me a very long time to not need to have a fancy gold watch. I’ve had three unbelievably outrageously tacky solid gold watches. I had a gold Rolex president 41 mm with the president band in 18 karat rose gold. I hated it for many reasons: I hated it because it never told TIME, it was extremely heavy, people either gave me the look like I was an asshole or the look like they were jealous, or they gave me respect because I had a fucking gold watch. Pointless. For me. For someone else it might have been a treasure.
For someone else, a gold watch could symbolize a trophy for many years of service in a very complicated job. For me it was just a burden. So one day I woke up and I sold it and now I wear a Casio G shock. It tells time perfectly, and you don’t know anything about the depth of my pockets when you meet me. In fact it’s probably better that you think I’m a bum, so you won’t ask me to loan you money.
When I was younger, there would have been no way to talk me out of wanting a convertible or wanting fancy versions of everything. This was because I had to project that type of persona. Yet to some degree I’m grateful that I have that kind of personality. It’s helped me in many ways, but like everything it needs to be tempered. It can’t be trusted on its own to govern my total consciousness. I cannot become burdened and made sick by all my vanities.
I’m not being hard on myself. I am in the process of incredible realization. It took me a very long time to get to the point where I started to realize how I use things to lift myself up. And I need to stop doing that because it holds me back from achieving the next level. The next level in my life is to lengthen the time that I stay awake and conscious.
I want clarity and I want vision. I don’t want to have to suffer to learn my lessons anymore. I want to learn my lessons through joy, hope, love, positivity, and as a direct result of searching.
A student came to a great master one day and asked, “Master, how many hours a day should I meditate?” And the master said, “How badly do you want to be happy?” The next day, the student came back to the master and said, “Master, I hear that this thing called enlightenment is a myth. I heard that searching for it could lead to the attachment of the search. Am I supposed to believe that enlightenment is real? And if it’s real, is it just going to come on its own just from me being a good person?” The master said, “Student, when you really concentrate on the wrong thing, you lose sight of the fact that we are here in the material body.”
It certainly feels that way and that feeling is compelling. It would be a tremendous waste of time in life if we did not work to fulfill some kind of mission. One great mission on this planet is just to survive. For others the mission might be to procreate. Another person may have a mission to free animals from cruelty and suffering. There are as many options regarding what people can do with their lives as there are people.
But the thing that we all have in common is that we all all here and we all strive to stay here for as long as we can. We need to teach ourselves and others how to end the feeling of suffering. It seems that we are the only creatures that can miraculously lead ourselves to suffering and then miraculously take ourselves out of it.
In many ways we brought ourselves to suffering. Of course if a child is abused then that’s not the case—the abuse was forced on them. Some ancient masters might have said that the child had karma to work out from a previous lifetime, but I don’t believe that's how it works. And I’d prefer to talk about this lifetime and where your feet are on the ground.
Where are you right now? What are your struggles? Have you written them down? Write down what you feel all your struggles are in this world. Make a list of all the people who have harmed you. Make a list of the people you believe that you have harmed. Make a list of all the things that you would like to be in this life, the things that you would like to experience and the things that you might want to leave behind. Write in your journal what you think is incredible about your life, what is incredible about life in general, and what are your thoughts of the universe. Some of the answers you write might be totally true. And if you write them with clarity they may benefit someone.
Is meditation a mind game or is it a very important practice? It’s a very important practice, because it’s like doing push-ups for the mind. You’ve got to keep the mind limber and fit. You got to keep the old brain cells pumping. You’ve got to keep the competition in your body fighting and take a lot of interest in the struggle as you do so. We do this by saying positive things to ourselves. Look in the mirror and say something good to yourself.
My recommendation is that you write the words “meditation is good,” but write it backwards and then look at the mirror with it so that it freezes in your brain. This is an odd way to make it stick out apart from everything else so that you can remember it.