I’m a long-time student of a spiritual practice that has 365 lessons to help us train our minds with a new way of seeing. During a moment of quiet contemplation, one of those lessons came to mind and I realized it could be applied to Bitcoin.
Lesson 189 asks us to, “Simply do this: Be still and lay aside all thoughts of what you are and what God is; all concepts you have learned about the world; all images you hold about yourself. Empty your mind of everything it thinks is either true or false, or good or bad, of every thought it judges worthy; and all the ideas of which it is ashamed. Hold onto nothing. Do not bring with you one thought the past has taught, nor one belief you ever learned before from anything.”
While the profundity of this lesson can’t be put into words I’ve always read it as asking us to approach God with a beginner’s mind.
Now you, dear reader, may be wondering why I bring this up. Well, it has become very clear to me that every Bitcoiner must do something similar with bitcoin and money. We must approach bitcoin and money with a beginner’s mind, which is rare for all but the most spiritually advanced among us. I’ve observed that pretty much everyone (myself included) has difficulty understanding Bitcoin at first. Often, we reject it as a scam or dismiss it. Sometimes it’s because we don’t understand money, or more specifically, sound money. Or perhaps we’ve been so culturally programmed our entire lives by fiat that we don’t recognize the cultural brainwashing we received about money.
In a moment, I will restate the above so it’s relevant to those of us trying to understand Bitcoin. Only we’ll replace the word “God” with the word “money” or “Bitcoin.” This may not be as heretical as you think. I have long believed that our culture worships money and the people who have extravagant wealth. Even sillier is the fact that almost all of us will vigorously deny that we worship it! However, if you’re honest with yourself, you will probably see this is true. We tend to pay too much attention to billionaires and give their words or tweets press coverage no matter how inane their comments. In my opinion, we will learn far more from studying how other cultures in the world (in places like Africa and Central America) are using Bitcoin. We have far more to learn from them about Bitcoin than they have to learn from us.
Here is the lesson from before, only restated for all of us genuinely aiming to understand Bitcoin:
Simply do this: Be still and lay aside all thoughts of what you are and what money is; all concepts you have learned about money and Bitcoin; all images you hold about yourself and your relationship to money. Empty your mind of everything you think is either true or false, or good or bad, of every thought it judges worthy; and all the ideas of which it is ashamed. Hold onto nothing. Do not bring with you one thought the past has taught you about money or bitcoin, nor one belief you ever learned before from anything.
My call to action is to recommend readers try this: Sit quietly for five or 10 minutes after reading the above and you will be ready to understand Bitcoin with a beginner’s mind. When you get stressed or confused about a financial decision about bitcoin or money, go back and try it again. Rinse and repeat and see if it doesn’t improve the quality of your decisions.
One of the common refrains you hear from Bitcoiners is “stay humble; stack sats.” In my opinion, this exercise may offer you a way to stay humble and operate with a beginner’s mind. Another offshoot of doing this exercise may be to help you make right-minded choices about investing in bitcoin. No one can tell you how to think about money or bitcoin. Sure there are many people who can influence your thinking, but you are the one with the ultimate responsibility: making financial decisions with a beginner’s mind means you stay open to inner wisdom. In my opinion, that radically exceeds an expert-level of understanding the technology. I wish you every success on your journey.
This is a guest post by Mark Maraia. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.