It was a beautiful September morning in San Jose, California. I awoke to birds chirping as the sun peeked through my blinds. A cool breeze would blow through my slightly open window. I laid there a second while keeping my eyes closed so I could enjoy the silence and calmness in the air. I stretched my arms from one side of the bed to the other claiming the entirety of it. As I took a slow deep breath in I could feel tingling throughout my body. 

I began to open my eyes and reached to my nightstand to retrieve my Mala beads. Using the headboard to prop myself against I took a Buddhists pose and with each bead I proceeded to set my intentions for the day. I continued until I completed all 108 beads. With each count and affirmation, I could feel the emotions from my desire get stronger channeling it into an incantation. After several minutes I felt it was finally time to open my eyes and move fluidly throughout the day.

Time was ticking by and 9 am was fast approaching. I had a few appointments in San Francisco so it was important that I get moving. The second I turn the key to lock the door, my phone chimes with a new message from my assistant. My 10:30 am, 11am and 1pm meeting had all been rescheduled as I was needed back in Miami. The travel itinerary came in right away with that whooshing sound the iPhones make. My flight was in 45 mins so I sprung to my car and headed for the airport. 

I didn’t really have much time to find a parking spot due to the silicon valley traffic. Why not just get it valeted since I will more than likely be back in a day or two, I thought to myself. This wasn’t a normal thing for me as I was a bit overprotective of my car. Once my door opened, I could hear chiming from little bells. It was the 3 same guys I see at the airport but only at a distance. Instead of wearing typical monk robes these were California yogis and chose the popular LuLu and I’m not talking about the pants either.

Making my way through the double doors the bells oddly stop. I peer over quickly and the men are all looking at me and smiling. Looking back it was a little off putting with a sprinkle of just the right amount of Cali weird. 

As I approach the security checkpoint I can see a hand waving at me. It was the security guards flagging me down. At it again Mr. Bordeaux?, Felix the security guy remarked as we both laughed due to how much I lived in that airport. Through all the hustle and bustle I arrive at the gate and low and behold it was delayed. I informed my assistant to see if she could work her magic with the valuable skills and talents no normal 23 year old possessed. 

Waiting around I figured this would be a good time to finally eat something. On my way to the food court, there was another yogi handing out pamphlets for his yoga classes. Instead of offering me one like the dozens before me that walked by he simply stood straight up, leaned in slightly and simply said “nice beaded necklace”. 

I wear my Mala prayer beads around my wrist virtually 90% of the time. What confused me was his choice to refer to them as a beaded necklace. He started to further engage in conversation with me so he could educate me on the benefits of yoga and meditation. I happily went along to see what knowledge he actually possessed. Hey, maybe I could learn more. 

I asked him a series of questions to further understand his understanding and style of teaching an ancient art. The gentleman became increasingly frustrated with the questions as I just didn’t take his pamphlet and attend the class. The final question I asked was: “ what is your meditation practice like, what kind of meditations do you do and what should I be looking for. 

At this point in my life, I had already been practicing Buddhism for what was fast approaching half of my life. Meditation was a part of my life on a daily basis. I wasn’t perfect at it but was always striving to be better as a person in any way possible. This young man seemed to be on a journey himself yet seemed so detached from it at the same time. He started to become unhinged and I stopped him, thanked him for his time and conversation. It was time for me to find that bagel shop around the corner.

I got back to my chair several mins later and pondered what that experience was all about with the Yogi. Why did it happen? What was the meaning of it in regards to my own life? The questions and internal discussion went on and on. I put the thoughts to bed for a few and decided to get some work done on the plane. 

After my work was completed in Miami, I had another day to enjoy. There is a hidden temple off of an old highway as you head into alligator alley territory. I have been there a few times and felt a calling to visit again given my encounter the day before. 

As the years pass I encounter many of the same types of yogis, yoga enthusiasts and self proclaimed spiritual experts. Many have lectured me and judged me on my life when they haven’t gotten their own lives in order. When I refer to “lives in order’ I’m not talking about the external factors but the internal emotional balance that disrupts their decisions, emotions, and choices. 

One thing many people don’t realize is that meditation isn’t a 15 minute practice or exercise, it’s a way of life and to always maintain a meditative state of being. This allows you to never be governed by your emotions as your emotions aren’t anything to release but are something to control and utilize. 

Just because someone practices Yoga doesn’t mean they are enlightened or even on the right path to enlightenment. Just because a person says they meditate doesn’t mean they actually do. I often question when someone tells me they meditate daily or even at all. It’s not an innate skepticism but hypocrisy when their emotions reveal their true state of being. Doing physical exercise to release your rage or emotions from a stressful day is a temporary fix. You’ve used physical exertion to control your emotions. What still remains is the actual problem which caused the stress point to occur and build up leading you in a vicious circle. Now, this isn’t a knock on Yoga at all. Real yoga is not the same as modern day yoga and it takes more than a 90 day course to be an expert or enlightened Yogi.

The belief system you adopt to live your daily life by must be fully embraced and that means existing in a world where you must realize you don’t have control of other people but the ability to control yourself. To guide someone else on a spiritual journey, you must also be ready for the opposition on your journey. 

To truly be at ease with any situation one must accept both the good and bad of the situation simply accepting it as it is and not what we want, expect or hope it to be. Mr. Yogi lost sight of that as he solicited his services and couldn’t win me in what could have been just a mutual appreciation for each other. 

Do you recall how in the beginning I mentioned how I set my intentions for the day? So what were my intentions? I began that day saying to myself “I want to grow and understand more.”