Zen Love

September 18, 2017

One evening, after a Dharma talk at the Cambridge Zen Center, a student asked Seung Sahn Soen-sa, “What is love?”

Soen-sa said, “I ask you: what is love?”

The student was silent.

Soen-sa said, “This is love.”

The student was still silent.

“Soen-sa said, “You ask me, I ask you. This is love.”

Perspective

August 23, 2017

Yesterday you climbed
To the top of the Empire State Building
(By elevator, mostly, but
There were a few steps here and there.)
You circled the observation deck,
Feet shuffling over old stone,
Hands gripping iron safety bars,
Like those of a prison cell
With a billion dollar view.

You could see so much from there,
Except for you yourself—
So improbably aloft,
Tracing the edge of the precipitous building,
Scraping the cerulean sky.

Today you lie in bed
Writing poetry,
Once again seeking the spectacular,
Once again not knowing it’s you.

BBC’s “Life” and “Frozen Planet”

August 9, 2017

For those of us who loved Planet Earth and Planet Earth II, two more phenomenal nature series…

Image result for bbc life

Image result for bbc frozen planet

The Perils of Expertise – Vol. 2

July 25, 2017

More Perils of Expertise—traits that enhance expertise yet detract from other parts of life—in this case, those of the writer of fiction, screenplays and other stories . . .

How To Be a Great Writer and an Unhappy Human

  1. Dwell on the past.
  2. Edit yourself.
  3. Look for conflict/drama.
  4. Ponder the imponderable. Excessively.
  5. Draw comparisons.
  6. Try to put everything into words.

The Perils of Expertise

July 24, 2017

Most of us strive to be good at something (or two things, or more). Some of us strive to be great. Being very good at something can be fun and rewarding. Yet there are perils.

Regardless of natural ability, achieving any measure of expertise requires training over a long period of time. Some say 10,000 hours, though in my opinion it depends on how you use them. After so much time, you develop certain mental habits, unconscious tendencies, which are a critical part of the foundation of your expertise.

Ironically, though, these same habits can make you unhappy when applied in other aspects of your life, and it can be extremely difficult to turn these habits off when you’re not conducting the activity that requires them. As a result, you end up with a list of traits that can make you both good at your expertise and unhappy in life.

These traits vary, depending on the type of expert (athlete, surgeon, marketer, physicist, musician, etc.) Take, for example, the business lawyer—an expert (one hopes) at negotiating deals and reviewing and drafting legal contracts . . .

How To Be a Great Business Lawyer and an Unhappy Human

  1. Dwell on the unknowable future (“What if this happens? Or this? Or this?”)
  2. Assume the worst, in all its hypothetical permutations (“Are we protected if things go bad in this way? Or in this way?”)
  3. Constantly worry over the details.
  4. Be defensive.
  5. Second-guess yourself and others.
  6. Focus on pitfalls, vulnerabilities and flaws, rather than on what is good.

Type A? Positive?

July 19, 2017

“I’d like you to take a deep breath right now and ask yourself this question: ‘Would it be all right with me if life got easier?'”

~Maria Nemeth, from The Energy of Money

Body vs. Taste Buds

June 24, 2017

Ingredients in my current smoothie/health shake:

  1. Water
  2. Soy Milk
  3. Ice
  4. Banana
  5. Protein Powder (pea)
  6. Olive oil
  7. Wheat germ
  8. Vanilla extract
  9. Cinnamon
  10. Turmeric
  11. Ginger
  12. Cayenne powder
  13. Moringa powder

Things it doesn’t taste as good as:

  1. Cupcake
  2. Toasted bagel with cream cheese
  3. Bacon

See Hamilton

June 17, 2017

ham-FBJust wow.

Since last I saw you

January 19, 2017

Things that have changed:

  1. I drink coffee.
  2. Dr. Sarno cured my headaches.
  3. I’m getting grey hairs.

Things that haven’t:

  1. I think of you
  2. I root for you
  3. I love you.

Only a bully beats himself up

January 1, 2017

“Were we to meet this figure socially, as it were, this accusatory character, this internal critic, we would think there was something wrong with him. He would just be boring and cruel. We might think that something terrible had happened to him. That he was living in the aftermath, in the fallout of some catastrophe. And we would be right.”

~Adam Phillips on the internal self-critic, from “Against Self-Criticism” in Unforbidden Pleasures


%d bloggers like this: