Do you know what it is like to stumble across a movie that turns out to be one of the best ones you have ever seen? About two years ago, I was lying around on the couch, when my flatmate put a laptop in front of me and said: “Let’s watch this movie. It sounds interesting…”. Alright. We started, and within 5 minutes I was completely absorbed in this movie. Incredible storytelling, wonderful acting, simple, no special effects. Just a good story that makes you think!
This movie is called “The Man from Earth”, and I cannot recommend it enough. Go out, rent it, find it, watch it! Although there is so much more to say, at this point, just go watch it!
I have a new favourite book: The Oxford English Dictionary! With our “economy” going to hell in a hand basket fairly quickly, I have started looking up the words the press commonly uses to transmit their message. The recent headline “economy about to collapse” spurred me on to enquire about what that actually means. While it sounds threatening enough, the two words that caught my attention were “economy” and “collapse”. So, let’s see what my dictionary has to say, shall we?
Yamaoka Tesshu, as a young student of Zen, visited one master after another. He called upon Dokuon of Shokoku.
Desiring to show his attainment, he said: “The mind, Buddha, and sentient beings, after all, do not exist. The true nature of phenomena is emptiness. There is no relaization, no delusion, no sage, no mediocrity. There is no giving and nothing to be received.”
Dokuon, who was smoking quietly, said nothing. Suddenly he whacked Yamaoka with his bamboo pipe. This made the youth quite angry.
“If nothing exists,” inquired Dokuon, “where did this anger come from?”
For some people it is easy to stop smoking, it is just a decision they make from one day to the next. For others, it amounts to a daily battle of will power…in that case, it is a mano a mano between you and you! Over the years, I have heard many stories as to how people quit, and it is interesting to know that each person has their own little strategy of going about it. Some throw all their cigarettes away and vow never to touch them again, some make more ritualistic burnings of the sticks, others buy a full pack and leave it sitting on the kitchen counter. Apparently, the third one is the best way to go…
Every day I scour the Internet for interesting news about the mind, body, psychology,…pretty much anything that this blog is about. As I was cruising around today, I found an article on Discovery, that summarized the biggest study on how the mind set of cancer patients influences their recovery or lack thereof. Now, before reading any further, what do you think?
I have recently started thinking about thinking, and more specifically, where does our way of thinking come from? It seems, that across boarders and geographical boundaries, our western culture has spread far enough to make sure we all think along similar lines. Of course, we don’t think the same things, we don’t even think the same ways, yet the rules guiding our thoughts appear to be very similar across the planet. These rules are so deeply embedded in us, they are so unconscious that we are not even aware of using them, or letting them rule our thinking. So, what are they, and where did they come from??
Thoughts. We all have them, most of the time at least. Monks and spiritual leaders train themselves to shut their thoughts up, and get into a state of not-thinking. A state Carlos Castaneda referred to as “Stop the World”. Yet, this is not what we are aiming for today. What has recently caught my interest is the process of thought that leads to innovation and progress. Caught somewhere between daydreaming and number crunching, so to speak, we find the pendulum of progress, swinging politely in the background of our culture.