I was telling my family in Kuantan that I meditate, and even though I expected a reaction from them telling me that I was being pretentious, I was a bit surprised that they began telling fairy tales about people who meditate losing their minds.
"You'll go crazy," they said.
Well, there has been cases where people who talk about religion being carted off to death camps, ehem, I mean, 'rehabilitation centers', right here in Malaysia.
It is very dangerous to have a dissenting voice. If you're not part of the whatever, some people tend to kill you for it. And when you get killed, you die.
However, there were people who taught me that after you have chosen your fight, do so fearlessly. There will be hordes of spiteful people on your tail, but guess what? They're on your tail, eating your bullshit.
First of all, religion is not my fight. I ended that years ago. I believe that whatever you believe in, suits you best. Even if you believe in an invisible pink unicorn, you deserve the invisible pink unicorn. In fact, take that invisible pink unicorn, shine it up real nice, turn that sumbitch sideways, kiss it for good luck and stick it up your candy ass.
Like I give a shit.
The only thing I want to say is that always value a dissenting voice. I was a part-time lecturer, briefly, at a private college last year. There were some dissenting voices about my syllabus and teaching style. I did not seek out to silence those voices. I mean, it is not my job to be SEEN or DEEMED as right. I believe that it is my duty to get these people out of their shells and take command of the world around them.
Of course, there is a delicate balance to be maintained.
In the end, some of the opposing voices scored very high. I don't care whether it was their righteousness or their hard work that got them there. What matters is that they got there, in the end. Some even went beyond my expectations and delivered some really amazing demonstrations of their skills.
I thought that I wanted to stop teaching, but seeing as to how some of the students did, and how some conveyed their thanks, I am intrigued to perhaps do that again.
So, back to meditation. Meditation has worked for me in lessening my cough and calming my overactive head. My problem, since I was a young child, was focus. I hate discipline and couldn't force myself to sit down and really just finish something, without a Herculean effort of concentration.
I find that emptying my mind of everything else and focusing on a singular point helps a lot in doing whatever I set out to do. It also eliminates everyone else from my universe. I stop thinking about other people's moves, emotions and eventual destruction. Everything will come, in time. Thinking about it does not make things happen.
I just focus on what I need to do. I know how I want to spend my 30s and it is not doing some of the things I have done before. I want to try out new things before routine starts.
And if I piss some people off along the way, well, you can't make omelettes without cracking a few eggs.
One senior editor once told me, "Amir, I have pissed off two Prime Ministers and a bunch of ministers during my time. I have received threats to my life and condemnation from many quarters - most of whom have never known me at all. And you know what? I'm still the ___ of ____."
At the end of the day, you need to decide what matters. The fights that matter, the people who do matter. The rest are all, well, garbage in your head. Bogging you down and holding you back from your own dreams and responsibilities.
That, I do believe in.