Mastery isn’t something you do. It’s something you live.
The so-called Experts…
I think the biggest mistakes I’ve made is prioritizing the opinions & thoughts of so-called experts, rather than my own opinion and voice. I probably spent thousands and thousands of dollars paying experts and coaches who all “knew better” or at least seem to know better. And in the end, things didn’t work out the way I wanted. Not necessarily because they weren’t qualified. Not because they didn’t know what they are talking about. But because they don’t have MY answers. Only I do.
And if we do not go after this, we are not in our own power. If we give away our power to experts, because we believe somebody else has the wisdom for our next step… we will always be stuck.
There are all these wise quotes like “when the student is ready, the teacher appears.” I think there’s more like this dopamine hit of advocating our own responsibility and our own wisdom. Thinking that somebody else will give us the answer.
Olympic athletes are Olympians with, or without a coach. The coach’s job is to help navigate blind spots and keep them on track.
But the athletes are the ones running the race. And as human beings, when we spend time alone or connecting to our breath, or feeling, or our emotions, what we’re tapping into is wisdom and that wisdom is like a barometer.
I think what we all need is to learn how to tell the difference between the discursive mind, and what I would call real intuition. Let me give you a hint, a real intuitive insight doesn’t make you necessarily excited. It can be totally quiet, but very powerfully. So if you have a deep insight, it’s almost neutral.
What I basically do is teach people how to recognize this true voice that can be very silent. one of the reasons that people will miss that wisdom or that intuition is because of the lack of space that we create in our days.
The start of the retreat
Alp: So I grew up in the seventies and eighties. When I went to my first retreat, it was ’98 and I was 28 years old and smartphones had just started. And when I came out of retreat like four years later (I was in a closed retreat) and I saw everybody running around in what I perceived talking to themselves. I saw everybody in a supermarket talking to each other. And I said they can’t even make a decision on what they’re going to buy by themselves. They need to chat about it. Once you have the technology use it, but it worked against us and nowadays it’s even crazier. People are so addicted to this.
Technology is awesome but it’s a tool. It’s not something that’s required. Like it doesn’t keep our heart beating. It doesn’t fill our lungs with oxygen. It’s a tool. But human beings are addicts. We get a dopamine hit, a level of control, a serotonin dump, and then we exploit it until no end to where the impulse to hit it gets dissipated. And then we have to do more of it. And then we end up just completely deprogramming ourselves.
I was looking for the hardest and toughest style of programming around, and I happened to have been lucky and come across my teacher. And the first thing he did was made us sit and meditate for 10 minutes. And this was the toughest thing I ever experienced in my life.
Start of meditation
So I started meditating when I was 14. from this point of view this became very important in my life later. I discovered all kinds of traditional schools, Taoist meditation schools, Zen Buddhism, Buddhism, and I found a home in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. At 28 I had to ask myself the question, do I just want to practice this as a hobby? Either I dive in now & deeply commit fully, or I just stop. Because I couldn’t take it anymore as well. It Wasn’t just curiosity. It was pure suffering that drove me there. I couldn’t find a way to get happy. I saw the impossibility for me, to experience real happiness and I didn’t see anybody else around me that was happy. And nothing convinced me that I could be.
When I was 17 I already had my first clients. I had business owners who were miserable as fuck. So I went for passion. So I made my passion martial arts and my profession, meditation. after a while, your passion becomes your job and it’s not so interesting anymore as well. Somehow I couldn’t fill this deep hole I was feeling in my life.
So I was 28. I decided I go full into practice. in Tibetan Buddhist tradition, we have two options. We go a celibacy way. Or I go the non-celibate way, which is called the Nakba tradition or in Tibetan or a yoga tradition. I and my girlfriend went to lay way. We built a center the first one and a half years. and then went into retreat. all in all, I spent seven years of it altogether out of society.
The monastery was one of the biggest Tibetan Buddhist schools. It was a karma Kagyu tradition in France. So for one and a half years, we were working daily. No music, no distraction, no nothing. Working with concrete in the morning, learning Tibetan instruments in the evenings, studying Tibetan, all of it. So we had to build and learn and prepare in the same time. A very difficult school. It was a really traditional Tibetan style. No distractions, and you fully commit. And we’re depending on people’s donations. I never forget this feeling of really selling everything and having basically just two bags with which we had to France and money for three months. No backup, no retirement plan, nothing.
It was so liberating because that’s what I wanted to do. I never had this feeling of waking up and having the feeling does make sense. suddenly at the feeling, I lived the life that makes sense to me, you know, it doesn’t have to be the monastery. It doesn’t necessarily even have to be meditation, but you need to get this Sense in life or you feel like this makes sense. And I wanted to be literally ready to die every day.
The first commitment we made, like it starts with six weeks, this was like a mini-retreat. So people think when I say I wasn’t a monastery because that’s the best word we have but it’s first called retreat Tibetan Dropcam. You put limits and creating limits. It is what creates growth, but do not think This is a fun journey. literally all my projections to the world came up and then the situation you experienced in retreat is really like the movie from the nineties Groundhog day. You always make up the same day, same people, same situation, same retreat. And then the first year is like his first days where his ego tries to hold ground. And then the withdrawal of the addictions of your habits that somehow do not find any more possibility to live themselves out.
And then all the demons come up. I went through depression, possibly psychotic episodes, all of it. but people think it’s just Lala land. No, it’s not. think of meditation, really, that entry journey into therapy, then you’re much closer to its true meaning.
And one of the most basic attachments is actually wanting to be happy and you need to learn to be happy while being unhappy. And it does as something people can’t wrap their head around, but I say, as long as you cannot be happy while being unhappy, then you’re not happy. real happiness must be being in a place where it doesn’t matter that you’re temporarily going through something that your mind or your body is experiencing suffering. Because guess what? if you do not want to suffer. Don’t exist, ceased to exist, but even this is not optional. Even if you kill this body, the journey goes on, man. There’s no escape until you surrender to what is inevitable.
The friendly Universe
Wonderfully life will teach if you do not take care of it by yourself. So even if you don’t do anything, surely life will kick you. I mean, we live in a world of abandoned blessings. You just need to realize That it’s there to serve you, that you’re your so-called problems are there to serve you. It’s a friendly universe but it needs to discover.
I think the most important thing is that, that you understand that we are not here in this life to be entertained. This life is not for consumption. It’s for learning. Either you grow and learn daily and growing and learning is not coming from the world going your way. So I would consider it really problematic if too much goes your way.
The first thing is that you need to understand that this world this life Is suffering, but not in a net negative way. In the sense that you will experience a satisfaction. there is a discrepancy between all the things that we want. All the things that we imagine the life.
So most people imagine life, they plan life to protect,, to reach our vision of it. Instead, the real trick is to have a vision, have a plan, but so you have a direction that you give yourself with awareness in order to really discover what’s the lesson on the way for you. the point of setting a vision or setting a goal is to give ourselves a bearing understanding that it’s not going to be a straight line and it might adjust, but at least like we’re heading in that direction of growth of learning progress.
There are different layers of learning. The most fundamental that we need to learn is that this suffering is created. It is the as long experience as you do not discover the real source of true happiness for which you do not need to accomplish anything or do anything. It’s your real nature. So being in your head, being in your ego is suffering. As long as this is your reality, you can try to create the most beautiful dream. And the biggest curse is that things will come true. Look at all the celebrities who seem to have to have everything and then break it all down because there’s wisdom in braking one’s own perfect life down. Because in order almost to create a balance between, the creation of mind and the basic, fundamental nature of mind, which is emptiness, which is spaciousness. We all want to create, we all want to fill the room, but nobody dares to be the room or experience the room at least. And that’s, that’s an important balance of life.
So there is the creation and there is a distraction. There is an emptiness that you need to experience in the form of space in your life, in your mind, and for accomplishment going for your goals. And when things do not go your way, what you experience for the moment is the possibility of experiencing emptiness. Getting space is a moment of fuck things. Don’t work out. What do I do now? And instead of just running into more thinking just give it space. And there’s a moment of almost like a blank that might lead you to actually perceiving what is.
I see it metaphysically, we are on a journey from victim to vehicle. So most people live in a state of weaken. Life happens to us. Everything sucks. I don’t know why. And I’m suffering. That’s it’s something we all know. We also might go back down all the time. The next step is to get into action and to momentum and all the self-development space that is emphasizing taking action making goals, having morning routines, all of that is super important for the second step.
So in order to, you know, everything has its place. Yes, get into action. Create your life. Don’t be passive. You can achieve goals. You can create something. in order to already accomplish the first step, discovering wisdom which is we are co-creators with life. Life is not just happening to us. We co-create.
The second stage, which is becoming the victor, the winner to get a life and things done. This is the entrepreneurial stage I would say, create, do, make things happen, and action. Without action and go was nothing happens.
So we need to learn to become a vehicle, stop creating, let life happen through you. And this is very scary for most people who are very accomplished, who reach goals, who know how to make things happen because they need to embrace even more space. And if you do not do it, then life kicks you in the chin. the universe is going to keep kicking you in the mouth until you learn the lesson. it’s the next stage storage because in your own evolution, you have come to a point where you have your heart and your soul to share much more than your marketing know-how.
if you live from space things get done like it’s almost magical. It’s a real thing, and this is what people really misunderstand was the law of attraction. it’s not that you can desire things to you based on your ego. And you become a manifester when you embrace space and don’t give a shit. If something comes to your life or not, then real manifestation happens. And it’s not, you do not create from ego as long as you create from ego. First learned the lesson of being a Victor. Life is your best teacher if you open up to it and surrender to it.
My path was through meditation because of what meditation does is it’s the perfect container to get in touch with space. And real meditation is so simple that it’s damn difficult, the highest levels of meditation almost without instruction, you basically have to be. most people do not know how to be without thinking. And all I can really invite everybody is to, discover yourself, give yourself a chance to dive. Having discovered your deepest self, which is happy for no reason. Which is blissful, which is totally peaceful, which is the best you could not even imagine. Give space, give the universe, give grace a chance to come into your life so that you re-recognize it. It comes to your life, whether you recognize it or not.
The first thing that people who want to get into meditation is first to get comfortable creating a habit. You don’t know, you do not need more than five minutes, but to them every day and use them as a concentration practice, make it very simple.
Do not try to be aware of what is going on, whatever. Just learn to focus one’s mind because these are the basic bicep curls that you first need to accomplish. You need to train the mind, but basic concentration. First, after you have build up support, efficient power to focus your mind, for example, that you can count from within the meditation period without being distracted, simple, counting one, two, three, four.
Most people can’t count until 10 without having to start over because, uh, what was I at eight or nine? I don’t know the mind. So distracted. First learn to count if you get until a hundred great count until 200, maybe you get to a thousand and you can either count or you can focus. Um, I mean, counting your breath, for example. already the instruction recognizes the breath going in and out and be aware is too advanced for most people. They can’t do it and forget about not wanting to think. You do not take thoughts as an object until you can make at least like, like a thousand curls, which would be like counting until thousands.
If meditation is taught in a proper way, very gradually so that you accomplish one step after the other, it becomes fun. Otherwise, people get to high-level instructions because the high-level instructions are great. And the teachers who teach them mean them, but they come from a context where you dedicate fully into a meditation practice.
Well, you live either in a monastery, but you’re surrounded by this. And then it’s fine to get these high-level teachings. I got a high level of teachings were had not the slightest idea. What do I do with this? But I was sitting all day. I had time to figure it out. If you just have five to 10 minutes, you know what will happen?
People will think about meditating while pretending to meditate. And then just repeat to what they’ve read about meditation. This doesn’t bring you anywhere. it’s exactly this kind of humility that we need in life. You need to be humble enough to feel I don’t win at this, and yet I’m going to do it. when you learn something, do not try to be a master. mastery isn’t something you do. It’s something you live.