The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.
– Albert Einstein
I’m pretty geeky. I like facts. I like things I can take apart, understand, and put back together, sometimes modifying the original in interesting ways. I prefer to discover the truth by proving it to myself, rather than taking someone else’s word for it. When you start talking to me about things like spirituality, God, meditation, reincarnation, the Pain Body, polarization, the Law of Attraction, and holistic anything, you’ll lose me quickly.
At least, that’s how I used to be.
While I called myself “agnostic”, my inner voice had a much more blunt opinion: This stuff is bullshit. I was completely awestruck that anyone of even moderate intelligence could believe any of this crap. To me, God came from the same place as the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy.
And then a few months ago, everything changed.
As much as I disqualified spirituality, I never felt quite right about my ignorance of it. It wasn’t my awareness of mortality that had me looking for something to grasp onto. Rather, from the perspective of personal development, it was the ultimate problem to solve: What is the true nature of reality? I’d given this question so little serious thought, despite the profound effect the answer would have on how I interact with the world.
I started learning about spirituality as a purely practical matter. Having spent several months in a “self-induced repression” of being really shy about meeting new people, I determined that the root of the problem was my ego. I was living so “in my head” that I would almost always talk myself out of approaching people. I was so wrapped up in preserving my identity that my fear of rejection was paralyzing. I had so many questions:
- How do I stop talking myself out of approaching people?
- How can I not care what other people think?
- How do I get over my dreadful fear of rejection?
- How can I avoid being so nervous talking to people I don’t know?
These were deep-rooted issues for which I’d already learned and implemented superficial solutions. While they worked for a time, they were masking the problem, rather than solving it. The results were temporary. My approach anxiety would return even if it had been only a few days since my last social appearance.
Thinking about problems rooted in the ego reminded of a book I’d heard of called The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle which, from what I understood, had the answer to the questions I was asking, told from a spiritual perspective. I decided to check it out.
This would become the book that helped me realize that, just like you can take apart a piece of software, study its code, and understand on a deep level how it works, you could do the same to reality. Spirituality, for me, would become a geek thing.
I don’t view spirituality as something you “believe in” or “don’t believe in”. I will believe only things that I can verify through my own experience. I view the great spiritual teachers as reality hackers whose teachings represent a model for interacting with the world. It’s up to me to do my research and evaluate their work by putting it into practice in my own life and measuring the results.
Even spiritual teachers aren’t exempt from “showing me the money”, so to speak. It all comes down to output.
Flirting Lessons from a Spiritual Guru
So I read The Power of Now, intent on finding out what I could learn about overcoming my issues with talking to strangers, and then putting this knowledge to the test. Tolle’s message was so simple that it was almost hard to grasp. Using terms like the “Pain Body”, the “Unmanifested”, the “Eternal Now”, “Surrender”, and “Being”, it boiled down to:
- All problems are rooted in time. For example, you’re either dwelling on something that happened to you in the past, or worried about something that might happen in the future.
- The present moment is all there is. The past and future don’t exist, except in our minds.
- You are not your mind. The real you is part of the ocean of consciousness, that indestructible energy which illuminates your being.
- The ego is useful, in moderation. Setting and achieving goals is fun. Relating to other people is fun. The ego is a useful tool, as long as you aren’t controlled by it.
- To control your ego, observe it. Tolle calls this becoming the “silent watcher”, the impartial spectator that observes your mind’s thoughts without judgement.
- Resisting reality is not only painful, but insane. The path to avoid suffering is to fully accept the present moment. If you are unhappy with the situation, you can then either leave the situation, change it, or choose to not change it. Acceptance allows you to act with clarity and focus, rather than anger and resentment.
This was a powerful message to me. Not only did it give me an interesting model for regaining control of the ego, but it had profound implications for meeting people:
- You are already perfect. It’s not that you’re tall enough, good looking enough, smart enough, or strong enough. It’s that the real you is not your body at all, but rather a part of the infinite ocean of consciousness that keeps you lit. Even the most frigid scientist will tell you that the human body is nothing more than energy.
- Attraction is not your goal. Screening for a good match is your goal. When you’re still worrying about feeding your ego, you try to get other people to like you. Sometimes one bad reaction from a stranger will ruin your entire night. When you accept yourself as already perfect, you stop seeking reactions and start gravitating towards only those that amuse you.
- What you say is irrelevant. If I need to say anything fancier than “Hi” to start talking to a girl, I’m not interested. And if me saying “Hi” creeps her out, I’m definitely not interested.
- Social dynamics are irrelevant. If I can’t ask for a girl’s number in front of her friend because she’s worried that her friend will think she’s a “slut” for giving a guy her number, then I don’t want it anyway. The more you understand the ego, the more aware you become of those who are still prisoners of their own mind.
- Clinging is suffering. I’ve found the most happiness by simply letting women flow into and out of my life. Rather than trying to project onto a woman what I want her to be, or having expectations about what will happen next, I prefer to let nature run its course.
After reading the book, I went out almost every day to parks, nightclubs, outdoor festivals, and other venues that had lots of opportunities to meet people to see what would happen when the rubber met the road.
Measuring the Results
The first thing that struck me is how empowering it is to observe your ego, rather than be enslaved by it. The idea that “you are not your mind” is one of the most powerful lessons that anyone can ever learn about meeting people. While I still sometimes needed revving up to get into “state”, I drew my energy from simply saying hi to people. Even if they ignored me, I still felt the surge of excitement that comes from knowing you’re doing what you need to do to create your ideal life.
I gave absolutely no thought at all to what I was going to say when approaching. I just said whatever came to mind. I’d be skating through the park, see a couple of cute girls sitting together on the lawn and walk up to them and say “You guys look interesting”, and within seconds the conversation was well underway. An hour later I’d walk away with the phone number of the one I was interested in.
At a nightclub on the dance floor I’d approach two unapproachably hot girls dancing together and say “I like your guys’ vibe. I’m going to dance with you.” One of them giggled and replied “Hehehe, okay!” Within a couple of minutes the other one was chatting me up, interview style: What’s your name? Where are you from? Do you live around here?
Any guy with experience will tell you that the dance floor is a trap. It’s the worst place in a club to meet people. But I didn’t care. When you stop trying to feed your ego, none of this matters. You’re just out there radiating, being receptive to discovering a connection with someone, rather than calculating the social logistics and coordinating with your wingman to distract the “obstacles”.
I was happy with the results I got from this experiment. It took me two weeks to go from zero to dating. I’ve since integrated Tolle’s model of reality into my everyday life.
Having previously spent a lot of time studying and practicing the art and science of seduction, I learned that through meditation you can bypass all of that garbage and feel a lot better doing so. The “game” is fundamentally designed to attract girls that are prisoners of their own mind and make you even more a prisoner of your own.
The shortest path to success in meeting people, whether you’re a guy or a girl, is through spirituality. Don’t look for something to believe in or something that promises you rewards for blind faith and Sunday contributions. Look for something that gets you results, verified by your own experience. Accept that it is extremely hard to know what is true but, through your own experimentation, you can determine what is true for you.
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