Beginner's Mind

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few." - Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

I have somehow allowed myself to be dragged into an argument over abortion, something I really shouldn't allow myself to do. I was a debater in high school, and I've never really gotten over the thrill of pounding someone intellectually into the ground. And, by the way, no debater ever loses a debate, some other characteristic of the audience or opponent explains the "loss."

The reason I shouldn't get into these things is that, usually, I have an opinion which is not one of the sanctified opinions, i.e. belonging either to the left- or right-wing side of the issue. For example, on the abortion issue, the real issue is unwanted pregnancies. How do we, as a society, solve this problem?

I guess being trained as an engineer I tend to look at issues as problems to be solved. That's what engineers do: use science to solve problems. As a group we like to say that emotion plays no part, but I've yet to meet the individual who was as unemotional as the fictional Mr. Spock. I guess that is what makes "issues" out of problems; emotional attachments to what are proffered as solutions.

The left- and right-wing extremists tend to look at those of us who can see both sides as flattened fauna, i.e. "Only yellow stripes and dead skunks are found in the middle of the road." But what the extremists, and, to a great extent, the media, don't seem to realize is that most Americans do not easily fit into the pigeon-hole of "liberal" or "conservative." I think most Americans *can* see both sides and are confused as to what is all the hubbub. It's no surprise that Americans are disenchanted with our political leaders: They aren't talking to us, they are arguing with another debater on the other side of the aisle. The conservative and liberal camps have laid out their positions and nothing as simple as cold, hard fact is going to make a difference (unless, of course, it supports their view).

Jeeze, but that stuff begins to get tiresome, after awhile.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

I read a lot of Zen and Tibetan Buddhist writings. I don't belong to a Sangha yet, though I am looking into it. I don't meditate every day, either, but I have a hard time creating routines.

When I was a kid, I read a lot of mysteries. Many time the fictional victim would die to due some sort of manipulation of his routine or habits. For example, one victim would lick his fingers before turning a page in a book. His murderer got him by lacing the pages of his book with cyanide. I guess I went over this in my last post.

I suffer from migraine headaches, which are almost a daily occurance. As a result, I am on disability and don't work anymore. I'm not crazy about it, but what can I do? I've got several doctors in New England who can't figure out what is wrong.

So, I now have the time to establish a routine. If I had the energy to do it, this is how it would go:
Wake at 6:00 AM
Exercise on treadmill at 6:30 AM
Eat breakfast at 7:00 AM
Take a shower at 7:30 AM
Meditate at 8:00 AM
Start watching MASH on FX at 9:00 AM

I've had this morning routine for about two weeks, except I haven't followed it even one day.'s not doing me much good, I'm afraid. But, it's good to have a routine, even if you don't follow it.