Hi, BenArion here...

Yesterday, I told you the first part of a 3 part story about my friend Sam.

Sam was overweight, and got jealous of my physique after I started using meditation to “trick” my brain into loving healthy food and exercise.

He declared that he, too, would start meditating, but he denied my offers of help, and gave up within a week.  After that, he was absolutely convinced that meditation wouldn’t work.

So, what mistake did Sam make?  And what should YOU avoid doing at ALL costs?

During the brief time he actually was meditating, I saw Sam buy a lot of stuff.

I know he bought it, because he went out of his way to show it to me.  He picked up sage incense, fancy incense holders, a yoga mat, and a brand new stereo system for tranquil background music.

He bought prayer beads made out of an exotic Tamarind Wood harvested from a remote location in Indonesia.

He wasn’t a Buddhist, but he still bought a jade statue of The Buddha for over $150.  The statue, at least, made me a little jealous, which is what I think he was going for.

While all his new, expensive stuff was really cool, it was also all completely unnecessary.  He didn’t need any “stuff” at all.

All he really needed was some quiet time to sit with himself, and a little bit of guidance so he could get through the difficult parts without giving up.

But he avoided those two things at all costs.

Later - after the incident, as he called it - I’d find out what had really been going on.  Meditation was making him unable to stop having uncomfortable thoughts and feelings about the things in his life that really mattered to him.

He felt stuck working in a career he hated as an accountant.

Sam had always dreamed of being an artist, but his parents told him that being an artist “didn’t pay the bills”.  Have you ever felt like that? I have.

His job made him tremendously stressed and anxious, and his mother had unknowingly ingrained in him from a young age that eating was a great way to deal with painful and uncomfortable emotions.

The more he worked, the more stress he felt, and the more stress he felt, the more he ate.

Slowly but surely, he gained so much weight that began to hate himself. But it also became impossible for him to reach out to other people.  Every time he tried to get a girlfriend, he was rejected.

He was passed up for promotions at work, which he didn’t even want, but felt bad anyway just because he didn’t get them.

He had very few friends, and most of the “friends” he did have he interacted with over online video games.  None of them were people who would actually be there if he needed them.

And all of this pain and isolation made him eat even more to cope with his feelings, and the cycle continued.

Sam was tired, and stressed, and broke, and busy, and frustrated, and alone, and afraid.  And I had no idea about any of this, because he was such a master at hiding it.

That was Sam’s mistake.  That’s what you should avoid at ALL costs.

Most of all, Sam wanted to be the “strong one”.  The leader.  The person who didn’t need help.

He thought that the most amazing people in life were not only able to shoulder all of life’s burdens alone, but all of their friends’ and family’s burdens too.

So as a result, Sam never asked for help, always acted as if he didn’t need any help, and when it was offered to him, he actively rejected it in order to “look cool”.

In reality, he wasn’t fooling anyone.  Everyone could see that Sam was desperately in need of help.

His weight increased more and more, and I kept offering to help however I could, and he kept pushing me away until eventually I stopped offering and just started smiling sadly.

Even though I could see the path he was headed down, I felt as powerless to stop it as he must have.

And that was my mistake.  It’s one that I try very hard to this day to not let consume me with guilt.

Because one day, I came home after a long day of work, and I didn’t see him outside in the breezeway.  Or the next day, or the day after that.  Sam completely vanished from my life, and I wouldn’t even hear from him again until almost a year later.

I thought he must be dead.

But Sam didn’t die.  He survived.  And he not only survived, but once he came back… he flourished.  He lost all the weight, he became an artist, he got a beautiful wife, and completely turned his life around in every way?

Tomorrow, Thursday, February 28th, in the last part of this story, I’ll tell you how he did it.