Today we had the departure of the 100 Day Warrior. 6 highly talented entrepreneurs and executives from the Amsterdamian creative industry signed up for Basic Goodness’s 100 day course around spiritual and physical transformation. In a way it is a social experiment around empowerment and inspiring leadership. My assumption is that when bright and creative people train together to open their hearts, quiet their minds and strengthen their bodies, chances that they will join forces to do something selfless and kind for the planet will increase dramatically. Also I hope they will shine so brightly that it will be contagious and more souls will want to join our cause of creating social impact. Ok, ‘creating social impact’ might technically speaking not yet be on top of their bucket lists but the idea of being able to do something awesome and meaningful together is simply inspiring to creative souls.
I started my journey into meditation somewhere in the fall of 2003. A year or two before I had started reading about personal and spiritual growth. I discovered things like Taoism, Buddhism and Advaita. Not that I went very deep but I got acquainted with the basics and I thought it was pretty fascinating. The explanation of human suffering caused by the idea of “I” spoke to me and the promise of a mindstate where there would be no “I” left sounded incomprehensible and attractive at the same time. And it sounded convincing too.
There was plenty of suffering going on in my life. Most importantly I had a relationship that was not working and I direly wished it were different. My girlfriend at the time was going through a burnout and at that time I didn’t really know what a burnout was. I had no idea how to comfort her. Only thing I knew was that I felt guilty of being unable to rescue her. I felt helpless. All my efforts seem to lead to miscommunications, which lead to terrible fights, which lead to worsening her physical and mental condition.
I decided I wanted to learn to meditate. I had noticed that all the books I had read about spirituality and stuff mentioned meditation and that I conveniently skipped that part every time. But by now I had ran out of options and had become pretty desperate for answers and change.
I talked to guy in the gym. At the time he lived one floor higher than my girlfriend. I mentioned my plan to learn to meditate. He said ‘I have been thinking about that too!’. He even already had an appointment to do an introduction session at some Buddhist place and invited me to come.
When we arrived at the place, somewhere deep in the Red Light District of Amsterdam, we heard that there wouldn’t be meditation that afternoon because of a very special guest. I remember a) being pissed off that we had come there for nothing because we wanted to meditate, dammit and b) being annoyed about the speaker using all these humble and devotional phrases that gave me the feeling he was squirming all over the floor from spinelessness, not a type of behavior that impressed me much at the time.
On stage arrived a very old man in an orange robe. To my amusement he was as deaf as a doornail, which was quite funny because he didn’t understand all the very humbly phrased questions from the devotees, which put them in an awkward position. The unwritten rule was clearly not to shout at the old guy but without speaking up A LOT louder it would be impossible to be understood. These days I would see that as an interesting dilemma, back then I was just maliciously enjoying the confusion.
The monk was very old, his Tibetan accent was very strong and he had no idea what the people in the audience were trying to ask (I think). But every time he said something his sentence started with ‘when you meditate every day then.. ‘ Somehow it made an impression on me. Then he said something like ‘when you are new at meditation you should try for at least 2-3 months’. That was the moment something connected with me and today, 10 years later, I can safely say that that old monk changed my life.
In my twenties there were often guys who wanted to start lifting weights and asked me if they could join me. I wasn’t particularly thrilled by the idea of tagging along a newbie every other week. My recommendation would always be: go for 2-3 months as often as you can, this is how long it takes to form a habit and get some results, which will lead to motivation. When I heard the monk give the same recommendation I realized one can train his mind in exactly the same way as one’s body. I decided to give meditation a chance for 100 days. One thing lead to another, I got a taste of spiritual transformation and the rest is history.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.. This is what Aristotle said. During the 100 Day Warrior the participants will learn how to take care of themselves in an excellent way, and I hope that 100 days is long enough to create habits and bonds that will last a life time. My participants are amazing, highly motivated, bright (and good looking too). My intuition tells me weird things must happen to make our journey anything less than life-changing.
I gave myself an extra assignment. Not only will I follow the nutritional protocols and the physical program and teach the meditation course, I also promised myself to write 100 blog posts. I am not sure why but I trust the transformative power of doing something for 100 days in a row. Feel free to follow our example and create you own 100 day challenge, starting today. To give you some options, this is what my people and me are doing:
- 100 days without sugar
- 100 days of daily meditation
- 100 days of no processed foods
- 100 days without alcohol
- 100 days without drugs
- 100 days of intense physical training (4x per week)
- 100 days of keeping a daily video diary
And, in my case, 100 days of writing daily blog posts.
So do you want to make a positive change in your life? Create a healthy habit. How? Set a heartfelt intention, muster up some courage, take a deep breath and.. just do it.
This is episode 1 in a series of 100 blog posts that will be published daily during the 100 Day Warrior. All posts are written by Atalwin Pilon, founder of Basic Goodness and creator of the 100 Day Warrior, a unique program around physical strength, inner wisdom and meaning. For requests for motivational speaking, in-company workshops, online coaching and mindfulness training click here. If you would like to join our international community of brave and inspiring human beings or just follow this blog and receive updates, please click here of sign up on the right side of the page. Atalwin specializes in coaching smart and creative people, both groups and individuals. If you are interested in a free coaching session click here.