Sunday, 2 February 2014

Day 24: Found a gem of a park

What went well?
  1. Got off campus today! (kinda a big deal; you can do practically everything in University City) Walked to 16th Street from 37th Street along Chestnut, and appreciated some new sights. It was a very mindful walk, and I was just trying to be open and receptive to everything on the way. Here are some scenes from the walk:
  2. This is the river I took a photo of about 3 weeks ago. It's now frozen!! (slowly unfreezing)

    This is the gem of a park I found. It's on Chestnut Street, between 16th & 17th Streets. Highly recommended!
    So much peace.
  3. Saw a couple of super cute dogs in that park, and patted them :)
  4. It was actually warm today, and the sun was shining brightly. Let's not rejoice tooo quickly though since it looks like it's back to snow tomorrow!!
  5. Am getting somewhere with my Buddhism x Mindfulness research paper. At least, I'm no longer completely lost as to what direction to take. Just mildly lost, but the ideas are coming along, I can kinda see what the critical issues are, and I'm going to talk through them with the professor next week.
  6. So, the research matrix was overkill for this very early exploratory stage of research (since I haven't really defined the scope/direction of my paper yet). What I really needed was to be able to map out some of the key ideas in the field and how they relate to each other, to strengthen the connection-forming in my mind. Like so ^.
  7. Finished everything I wanted to get done today by 10pm (including an online 17-module course on ethical research practices in preparation for my research assisting role - took over 2 hours, fun times). Accomplishment is a good feeling to have.
  8. Got an email informing me that I'll be singing one of the solos for the choir. Looking forward to it :)

What did I learn? 
  • The modernist portrayal of "Buddhism with Beliefs" (see Batchelor, 2007) is a very Western concept and has been criticised as "religious individualism" (Gombrich 2002). Then again, Buddhism has always been transformed by whatever cultural context it has travelled to.
  • Gracey (1977) argues that kindergarten is an academic boot camp, preparing kids for the student role, i.e. obeying authority even if they don't make sense, following routines and structures, little room for creativity.

Miscellaneous thoughts
  • Something that a new friend said on Thursday night at the Philo meeting keeps coming up again in my mind, because I feel it was a particularly profound idea. Basically, she said that she tries to understand that everyone is "operating at their level of consciousness". It's pretty true that not everyone is aware of the ways that their actions impact others. So when someone does something hurtful or frustrating, I think it is a very valuable perspective to keep in mind; one that encourages patience and understanding, rather than reactivity and annoyance.


  1. Wow. I love that last bit. "Operating at their level of consciousness..." What a great thought for the day. A psychologist speaking at a Tinnitus conference talked to us about "Finding a client where they are" in order to bring them to a new level of understanding. I think that is similar to this concept.

    1. Absolutely. A picture that springs to mind is that you can't drag someone out of a well by standing at the top and yelling at them to come up. You actually have to get in there and find a way out together.