One all-around blind spot I see not just my clients have, but most people when at a bar or club have, is the ability to meet someone new. I’ve come to find a joyful way to be able to meet the types of people I’m interested in at a bar—guys or girls. And it starts with meditating.
What I’ve found is that a social environment like a bar is overwhelming to my ego, and I had to find a way to shut it up. Everyone is loud and attractive, and my brain would look for situations that could make me look good. The need to judge everyone in the bar and the fear of being judged in the bar was huge—sometimes so bad that I’d leave in a panic. But I learned to take my spiritual practices into these social environments and everything changed.
First, I learned to detach myself from my need to accomplish any goal—namely, attracting a gorgeous female. I started by doing one thing only: observe.
I would sit at a packed bar, with blaring music and flashing lights, and simply take in my environment. Without judgment, without analysis, without discernment. Just look and listen. Focus on different interactions. Watch the laughs, the emotions, the movement. When there is no ego interrupting this practice, I quickly realized how beautiful people are at a bar. It was no longer a scary place for me, but truly a fun and happy place. And from this pure observance, came appreciation.
I found that a natural result of observing my environment brings a flood of happiness—or appreciation—in me. I feel great watching people have fun. I love them. Whereas I would only several minutes prior feel contempt for these people, that transitioned into love.
From this love, I began relating with the people around me. I would see a smile, and be reminded of the times I would smile for similar reasons. I would see a man tickle his girlfriend, and be reminded of the times I would play immature games with the woman I loved. This emotion would be best described as connection.
What came from this connection is an unavoidable compulsion to, at the very least, acknowledge these beautiful people with some eye contact. When I feel a connection to someone, whether it’s an actor in a role that relates to my life experiences, or a person that I admire because they’ve accomplished similar goals as to which I aspire, I want to meet that person. I want to get closer to that person. I want to connect with that person. This is the last part of my meditative method in becoming social, and I call it engagement.
This is the place to be when being social: Completely engaged with your environment and the people in it. When I’m in this state, I have no fear approaching what would seemingly be an intimidating group of people. I find myself walking up to people with an assertive, curious and loving vibe. They can feel that I have nothing to take, I am only there to be with them.
I don’t have to hold people’s attention with jokes or interesting stories. I don’t have to think of what to say; in this state, the perfect words come out when they will. When I have no intention to accomplish anything, I don’t worry about figuring out things to say. I don’t worry if they insult me, or tell me to leave. They feel all of this.
But how do you go about mingling when you’re in this meditative state? I have a system I’ve been refining for the past eight years of my life that I teach to students each night at the swankiest bars in New York City. Next week I’ll bring you the final part to Meditative Mingling. I’m obsessed with human interactions, kids—and I’m happy to be one of your resident dating coaches at MeetMindful.[photo: via Glenn Harper on flickr]