Posts Tagged ‘life’

Reading, exercising, and life

October 30, 2017

I sometimes read some words and pronounce “I read it” even if I didn’t fully understand what I read. Sadly, the goal is to get through the words, with some minimal understanding. The goal is not to thoroughly understand it.

I sometimes do an exercise and pronounce “I did it” even if I didn’t fully feel the movement and the muscles that were used. Sadly, the goal is to get through the exercise, with some minimal sensory feeling. The goal is not to thoroughly feel the movement and the muscles.

The years are passing by quickly. I wonder if, unconsciously, my goal is to get through life, with some minimal awareness. I hope not.

You and I … we’re really not so different

July 14, 2017

Next time you say, “I have nothing in common with this person,” remember that you have a great deal in common: A few years from now — two years or seventy years, it doesn’t make much difference — both of you will have become rotting corpses, then piles of dust, then nothing at all. This is a sobering and humbling realization that leaves little room for pride. Is this a negative thought? No, it is a fact. Why close your eyes to it? In that sense, there is total equality between you and every other creature.

— Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

Every moment is fresh and new

February 28, 2017

I have observed this within myself: when something happens during the day, I react in the same way that I have in the past. It’s like a tape recorder inside me that keeps playing over and over. That’s not an interesting life, when nothing is new.

Eckhart Tolle talks about being present in every moment. When something happens during the day, you face it head-on, without thoughts or emotions of the past or anxieties of the future. In this way, every moment is fresh and new. Each day is full of life!

The computer has consumed my life

December 27, 2016

Yesterday on NPR they were talking about child expert’s current recommendations on the amount of time children should be allowed to spend in front of the computer. I think they recommend less than an hour each day. Interestingly they then went on to tell how much time their parents spend on average each day in front of the computer: 9 hours per day!

I then got to thinking about the time that I spend in front of the computer each day. Eek! I probably average 10-12 hours per day. That is a huge chunk of my life spent in front of a computer. I am starting to forget what I did with my time before the computer age.

In 2016 a billion hours will be wasted watching a screen

January 3, 2016

A friend of mine recently informed me that he doesn’t watch much TV. And when he does, it is only if there is something on TV that he specifically wants to watch. He never turns on the TV, roaming the channels, looking for something to entertain him.

I thought about that and I agree with my friend’s philosophy. I don’t want to waste my life sitting mindlessly in front of a screen, seeking to be entertained.

Seth Godin wrote that in 2016: We’ll waste more than a billion hours staring at screens. (That’s in total, but for some people, it might feel like an individual number). I don’t want to contribute to that billion hours. My 2016 goal: I will only turn on TV when there is something that I specifically want to watch.

This is why I love to learn

December 28, 2015

I love learning.

Yesterday I got to thinking about that. Why do I love learning? After all, when I die what benefit will all that learning have done for me?

That line of thinking put a damper on my love for learning. A temporary damper, however, since I woke up this morning again eager to learn new things.

Nonetheless, the question remained at the back of my head all day long.

Just now, as I a was reading a marvelous book, I realized the answer. I love learning, not for any particular benefit it might bring me, not because it might advance my career, I love learning because I love the beauty that I uncover while learning. It is this beauty which motivates me, it drives me to want to learn more and more.

I feel confident that a life filled with uncovering beauty is a life well-lived.

 

185 billion events to be enjoyed over our mortal days

February 1, 2015

At this point in our scientific knowledge we are on the verge of being able to estimate how much information the central nervous system is capable of processing. It seems we can manage at most seven bits of information— such as differentiated sounds, or visual stimuli, or recognizable nuances of emotion or thought— at any one time, and that the shortest time it takes to discriminate between one set of bits and another is about 1/ 18 of a second. By using these figures one concludes that it is possible to process at most 126 bits of information per second, or 7,560 per minute, or almost half a million per hour. Over a lifetime of seventy years, and counting sixteen hours of waking time each day, this amounts to about 185 billion bits of information. It is out of this total that everything in our life must come— every thought, memory, feeling, or action.

From the wonderful book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Relax, slow down, and let things take shape on their own accord

January 11, 2015

Wonderful advice from Matt Perryman:

Relax, slow down, and let things take shape on their own accord. There’s little use in forcing things out, and then stressing out when they don’t work out as you planned. Set ambitious goals, yes, but don’t let them own you.

It might help if you think of your life as more like a garden than a factory. If you try to manage your garden like a factory, you probably aren’t getting much of a crop. Gardens require tending rather than intrusive management. You pick the kinds of plants you grow , and pull out weeds, and make sure that light and water and even temperature are suitable for your flora. Contrast that to actual management, the belief that somebody has to be there overseeing and guiding every aspect of the process lest it collapse into itself. Tending a garden means guiding along processes which, for their intended purposes, are far smarter than you could ever be. Respect the garden’s nature as an organic, fluid, adaptable system and it will flourish. Your job is to guide the ship, so to speak, to provide direction.

Wonderful advice from Parker Palmer:

Periodically reflect on where your life has taken you (versus where you want your life to go).

A sad commentary on today’s culture by philosopher Alan Watts

January 11, 2015

A sad commentary on our culture by philosopher Alan Watts (read the following words as you watch this fabulous video Human Culture – Alan Watts):

We want to get everything done as fast as possible.

We want to convert the rhythms and skills of work into cash, which indeed you can buy something with it but you can’t eat it.

We rush home to get away from work and begin the real business of life, to enjoy ourselves.

For the vast majority of American families, what seems to be the real point of life – what you rush home to get to – is to watch an electronic reproduction of life (TV). You can’t touch it, it doesn’t smell, and it has no taste.

You might think that people getting home to the real point of life in a robust, material culture would go home to a colossal banquet or a riot of music and dancing. But nothing of the kind.

It turns out to be this purely passive contemplation of a twittering screen.

You see mile after mile of darkened houses, with that little electronic screen flickering in the room. Everybody isolated, watching this thing. And thus in no real communion with each other, at all.

This isolation of people into a private world of their own is really the creation of a mindless crowd.

And so we don’t get with each other, except for public expressions of getting rid of our hostility like football or prize fighting.

Even in the spectacles on sees on this television, it’s preferable and proper to exhibit people slugging and slaying each other. But not people loving each other.

One can only draw the conclusion, the assumption underlying this is that expressions involving physical love are far more dangerous than expressions of physical hatred.

It seems to me that a culture that has this sort of assumption is basically crazy and is devoted, unintentionally, not to survival but to the actual destruction of life.

Create beautiful things and then let them go

June 8, 2014

The Buddhists have a practice of working diligently for several days on creating a beautiful design in the sand. The thing they create is called a sand mandala. Then, once it’s done they destroy it.

I never really understood that practice until today as I listened to an interview of Rosanne Cash (daughter of Johnny Cash). She said that when she performs on stage there are times when she connects very well with the audience: her energy is outflowing to the audience while simultaneously she is receiving energy from the audience. She said (paraphrasing): But this connection is only for a short time; when the show is over the connection is gone; it has made me realize the transitoriness of life – like the Buddhist sand mandala. Ah! That turned on a light bulb in my head. I now understand the Buddist sand mandala practice: things come into our life and then they leave, that’s simply the way of nature.