Exercise induces a momentary reprieve from the past and future

September 11, 2016

“The iron (i.e., weightlifting) has saved my life, repeatedly” (Tom Platz, bodybuilder)

“Indian marathon runner enters a state of Samadhi (enlightenment) and continues running long after crossing the finish line.”

There is a moment during intense exercise where fatigue sets in and the mind can no longer race with thoughts about the past or future, and can only be in the present. At that moment of being totally in the present, you are in a state of enlightenment (spiritual bliss).

An enlightened Ph.D. program is one that …

September 5, 2016

… requires candidate doctoral students to simultaneously follow these two paths:

  1. Master the subject: the student must master the subject matter – the student must put in the 10,000 hours needed to attain mastery. I would expect the student to put in 50 hours per week studying the subject. This means it will take 200 weeks (about 4 years) to master the subject. At this point in his education he should be able to teach himself, so I would expect this would be a time mostly of self-study.
  2. Quiet the mind: the student must learn to align with his deeper self, so that he can tap into the source of all creativity. I would expect the student to put in 10 hours (or more) per week learning to quiet his mind. There are many choices available, including following the breath, mantras, mindfulness, mediation, and taking long walks (“Never trust a thought that didn’t come by walking.” — Friedrich Nietzsche).

Upon completion of these two paths, the student has prepared a vehicle for receiving insights on the subject matter from his deeper self. The student is now ready to bring forth new, deep insights.

Feel the tingling energy in every part of your body and become the sun

September 4, 2016

I am often 100% absorbed in my thoughts. I am unaware of the rest of my body, and unaware of the environment around me. That’s not good. Recently I have been learning, from Eckhart Tolle, to spread attention to my body. I pay attention to my hands; I notice a tingling. I recognize that tingling as energy. Then I pay attention to my feet; I notice the tingling energy there as well. I continue, paying attention to other parts of my body, noticing the tingling energy.

I think that I now understand this picture:

enlightenment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think the picture indicates that this person has succeeded in giving full attention to every part of his body, noticing all the tingling energy. When that happens, it must feel like one has become the sun.

Prepare a vehicle for receiving creativity and power

September 2, 2016

Suppose that you fully align with your deeper self (the source of all creativity and power). Can you then make amazing scientific discoveries and/or perform superhuman physical feats? No. The reason is that there must be a vehicle that is prepared to receive the creativity or power from the deeper self. That is, there must be vehicle that is ready for the power to flow into. The vehicle could be the human mind. There must be something that has already been prepared for it, in the human world. In the book Outliers, it says that one prerequisite to achieving mastery of something is 10,000 hours of practice. Then the possibility arises that the vehicle is ready to be receptive to the power that flows from the deeper self.

The above is a paraphrase of a fantastic talk that Eckhart Tolle gave on creativity (starting at 20:40).

Offices that are kept too cold result in 33% lower productivity

August 28, 2016

An interesting segment on NPR about offices that are kept uncomfortably cool. The old theory was that keeping offices cool would make people work faster. However, research shows that people working on a computer are up to 1/3 less productive than if the temperature is set to a comfortable temperature (76 degrees, or higher).

We find that when people are in an environment
that they find to be too cold, typically a temperature
like 68 to 70, they do up to a third less work on their
computers than if they’re in an environment that is
more comfortable.

http://www.loe.org/shows/segments.html?programID=16-P13-00035&segmentID=3

It is right in front of you and yet you cannot see it

August 27, 2016

If I were to ask you to describe a room in your house, you would probably list the things in the room: for a kitchen you might list stove, refrigerator, counter-top, cabinets, floor, and so forth. You would probably—almost certainly—miss the most important part of the room: the space that allows all these things to be present. Without that space, none of those things could be present. The things in that space are continually changing, but the space itself is eternal.

If I were to ask you to describe who you are, you might talk about your goals, your personality, your thoughts, your emotions, and so forth. You would probably—almost certainly—miss the most important part of you: the “space” that allows you to have all those thoughts and emotions. Without that space, none of those things could be present. The things in that space are continually changing, but the space itself is eternal.

The above is a paraphrasing of some things that I have recently learned from listening to Eckhart Tolle videos.

Creative people

August 26, 2016

Creative people don’t hang it up. We don’t walk away,
we don’t want to sit in a lawn chair, we don’t want to
go out and play golf, we don’t want to travel the world.
We want to continue to work.

— Floyd Norman, 81, movie animator at Walt Disney Studios
 

Retire? No thanks says this 81 year old animator at Walt Disney Studios

August 26, 2016

Today on NPR they interviewed a guy by the name of Floyd Norman. He is 81 years old and is an animator at Walt Disney Studios. He’s been working there since the 1950s. When Norman turned 65, Disney tried to force him to retire, but he wouldn’t have it. “I wanted to continue to work,” he says. “You see, creative people don’t hang it up. We don’t walk away, we don’t want to sit in a lawn chair, we don’t want to go out and play golf, we don’t want to travel the world. We want to continue to work.”

http://www.wbur.org/npr/491370725/at-81-disneys-first-african-american-animator-is-still-in-the-studio

Incremental improvement

August 13, 2016

How does one incrementally improve in a physical skill? How does one incrementally improve in the mastery of a subject?

Suppose one desires to progress from an average skill level to a skill level that would be seen by most to be superhuman? How does one attain a physical skill that is on-par with the Olympic athletes? How does one attain a mastery of a subject that vaults one into world-authority level?

Let’s take two concrete examples.

Suppose you want to have a superhuman ability to perform pushups – you are able to knock off hundreds, even thousands of pushups. How would you get to that level? Would you simply do pushups every other day, trying to do a bit more with each passing week? Certainly that is part of it. But anyone who’s ever tried that strategy knows that after a while you plateau and get bored.

Suppose you want to be the world’s greatest programmer in, say, Lisp – you know every nook and cranny of the language and are able to employ any feature to craft beautiful code. How would you get to that level? Would you simply read lots of books on Lisp and write lots of programs, mastering a bit more with each passing week? Certainly that is part of it. But as the months go by you will start to forget the things you mastered at the beginning of the journey.

A straight linear approach to incremental improvement does not work.

One thing that I’ve learned from observing top athletes and top subject matter experts is that they are constantly going back to the basics – performing basic movements, reviewing fundamental concepts. Incremental improvement is not linear, it’s linear for a while and then you circle back to the start. On the second iteration you go linear a little further and then circle back. On the third iteration you go linear even further and then circle back. Over and over. Faster and faster.

Relish every minute of every day

August 10, 2016

When I exercise I typically set a certain number of reps as a goal. I then perform the reps, always focusing on the goal. Sigh. What a missed opportunity…

Oftentimes we focus on the goal and pay little or no attention to the journey to get to the goal. This includes big goals, such as graduating from college or getting married, as well as little goals such as getting to the top of the stairs or in an exercise finishing the desired number of reps.

The problem is that most of the time is spent in the journey. So if we ignore the journey then we miss most of life.

From now on I will make the journey the objective. I will walk up the stairs and consider each step the objective. I will exercise and make each rep the objective. I will stand in line at a store and focus on my breath. I will relish each minute of each day.