We first started talking about how friction is the enemy. Then we discussed technique #1 for managing it – namely, bypassing it. Then we covered overcoming friction – technique #2.
Today, I’m going to talk about technique #3 – obliterating friction.
This is the idea of getting rid of friction permanently.
Permanently? Yes, permanently.
In Taoism, this is called wu wu-wei – doing not doing. Basically, all actions follow naturally from the core of your being. You never get in your own way, and if there’s an obstacle, you flow around it instead of getting hung up on it.
‘Being like water’ is a metaphor that I use a lot in The Tao of Dating for Men. It’s all about the principle of effortless flow.
Now, I’ve gotta warn ya, buddy – this ain’t easy. This is a lifetime’s work. I’ll tell you right here, right now: I have no quick fixes for this.
Sure, I can lead you through a guided meditation and you’ll feel like the River Amazon for a few hours or maybe a day after. We’ll do that in the Approach Clinic.
That’s the state of flow. The goal is to get you the trait of flow. So it’s a permanent resident of your neurology.
What I can do is to get you started on a practice that will get you there. Think of me as a personal trainer for your brain.
I can give you the workout. I can assign the nutritional plan. And yes, all of them work – when you apply yourself to them. I can’t be standing there over your shoulder telling you to do every workout or keeping you eating healthy. I guess I could, but you wouldn’t be able to afford me
What I can do is get you started on a lifelong program of meditative practice so you get to that state of effortless grace eventually.
The Japanese call it shibumi. The Italians call it sprezzatura. I call it the State of Awesome.
So here’s a simple meditation practice to get you started.
Get a cushion and put it on the floor, arm’s length from the wall. Sit cross-legged facing the wall. Do lotus position if you can; no worries if you can’t. Look straight ahead or slightly down. Feel free to defocus your gaze if it’s easier like that.
Put the palm of your right hand under your left hand, and touch the thumbs together. Put the hands in your lap at navel level or so.
Set a timer for 20min and begin. If thoughts come, just acknowledge them and let them go. There will be a lot of them – no worries. Just sit.
This is the essence of zazen – zen meditation practice. Simple. Straightforward. Utterly transformative when done regularly.
‘When done regularly’ is a big thing. If you eat a Big Mac every day, you will eventually get fat and sick. If you read men’s magazines every week, you will feel jittery and inadequate. If you meditate every day, you will get to the State of Awesome.
If you want more on meditation and friction, I refer you to this outstanding video of Shinzen Young, courtesy of Google Tech Talks. It’s about an hour long, and quite possibly the most beneficial hour you’ll spend this week:
Another thing you can do to obliterate friction is mono-tasking. Or mindfulness. Do only one thing at a time at all times.
If you’re eating, eat. Savor the food. Feel yourself chewing it. Experience all the flavors and textures inside your mouth. No reading. No talking. No gawking. Just eating.
If you’re walking, just walk. No talking on the phone. If you’re talking on the phone, talk. Stop driving, pull over, and just talk (this advice may very well save your life).
‘Distracted from distraction by distraction’ — that’s what T.S. Eliot said in his immortal work Four Quartets, and it was his description of modernity. In the 1940s.
Since then, it’s all gotten 10,000 times worse with the advent of TV, cable, radio, internet, Twitter, Facebook, Crackberries and iPhones.
Your mission, if you choose to accept it and strive for the State of Awesome, is de-fragmentation your attention. Consolidate.
I gave you two ways of doing that in this article: zazen and monotasking. I’ll elaborate on those and give you more in the Approach Clinic. Sign up here, and use the ‘APPROACH’ discount coupon code to get $60 off, making the class a mere $39.95.
And you thought it was all about meeting girls. Ha.
The power is within you