Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Day 41: Spring Break is Booked!!

What went well? 

  1. Started the morning with 45 minutes of deliberate singing practice. Am really trying to work on relaxing the tongue. The process of deliberate practice itself is rewarding to me.
  2. More hilarity in my intro Buddhism lecture. While talking about the 5 precepts and intoxication, the professor demonstrated a "drunk walk", the "most focused walk in the world" (because you are completely self-absorbed - tunnel vision). It was amusing. (Also, told us that Korea is where they really drink. Plus, another badass quote: "everything you've done, I've done it and its evil cousin". Make of it what you will :P) More importantly, I felt like I gained a much more nuanced understanding of what these precepts entail. See below.
  3. Using the Notebook Method to write several permutations of my potential research question, I made more progress on my thinking for my mindfulness research paper. At this stage, I think my research question will be: What are the similarities and differences between mindfulness-based and positive psychology-based social-emotional learning (SEL) programs, and (how) can they be integrated to form a more effective SEL curriculum? So my potential working title will probably be "Mindfulness-Based Positive Education: An Integrative Approach". It's looking like a promising research direction.
  4. My tingsha bells arrived from Amazon! I'd been thinking of getting a set for my mindfulness practice for awhile now, so finally decided to go for it since I'd use them every day and eventually when leading group mindfulness sessions.
  5. Planned my Spring Break trip with my friend, and we booked our bus tickets and flights. We'll be in Washington DC 10th-11th March, Richmond, Virginia on the 12th, and spending just an afternoon in Durham, North Carolina on the 13th to visit Duke University, before I fly back to DC for my mindfulness conference on the 14th-15th. It feels great to have it all booked now! And it's always fun planning and anticipating trips with friends. Also, since I visited her in her apartment in Rodin College House, I took the opportunity to take some photos of the apartment. Rodin is one of the high rises, so it's really, really nice. If you're an exchange student, it will be highly unlikely (i.e. impossible) that you'll get a single room in a high rise, but you can still get a double.
  6. Shared lounge for a 4-person apartment.

    Shared kitchen.

What did I learn? 

  • The 5 major precepts in Buddhism are commonly translated in terms that sound a lot like the Christian commandments: "do not lie", "do not kill", "do not steal", etc. But there is so much more to the original ideas than just simply "do nots". For example, it's not simply "do not lie", but rather, to do with "abuse of speech" - being aware of the effects of your speech on others. Indeed, sometimes little untruths may be appropriate if the short-term and long-term effects justify it. Also, it is not just "do not steal", but about "abuse of possessions", which may include hoarding, exploitation, slavery, wasting, and allowing others to be poor. Once again, it's about being aware of what your possessions do and where they come from, so it encapsulates ideas about taking more than you need and accumulating things just for yourself, generosity vs selfishness, and making ethical decisions when buying things.
  • A nice quote shared by the professor in the positive psychology lecture today, on the topic of overlapping theories in psychology and yet different researchers simply ignoring the work of others: "Theories are like toothbrushes. No self-respecting psychologist would ever use somebody else's." Oh god. Unfortunately, this is too true.

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