Tag Archives: intention

Life in the Academic Slow Lane

Looking back at nearly a half century, a lifetime really, spent in academic chemistry (I started my first college chemistry course in 1972 and decided that this was “it” for me), I can see plenty of choices that I made over the years that were guided by the need that I felt to do things faster, to do things bigger, and to just do more. Perform my experiments more quickly. Write a paper that will make a bigger impact. Do three projects instead of one.

Only rarely did I ever stop to consider whether this orientation was in keeping with my natural tendencies or would create a satisfying life for me, a life well-lived. Instead, I labored under the assumption that I needed to set my objectives and perform my work in ways that would please others and the only way to do that was to consistently exceed their expectations.

I was inspired to reflect on all this recently when I read an essay by Dr. Irene Nobeli, “In praise of slow,” that appeared on the back page of Science magazine (Working Life, 2 Feb 2018).  Continue reading

Sitting idly is still doing something

I’ve written from time to time about the benefits of meditation, and also contrarily about the uselessness of meditation. Against the view that ‘meditation delivers benefits X and Y’ is the view that ‘meditation is simply the experience of life, being in the moment’. The latter does not mean stopping to think, “this meditation will put me in the moment,” but just sitting and being open to whatever the moment (life) happens to be. The latter is true zen.

Here is a beautiful zen story that illustrates the mysterious adventure of ‘just sitting’ without any ideas of gaining or losing.

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