Sunday, October 09, 2005

First mile of the marathon

As of now 3 weeks had passed since I left my job and moved to university to start a PhD. I should say overall the experience had been good. I can split the whole experience into three parts (A) self (B) research (C) others.

(A) In the self front:
I am doing my best to stream-line my life. For doing a good research, one needs to have a stable mind and a creative mind. Unfortunately, the association between creativity and stability is not easy. If you are a poet or a music composer, you need creativity but sadly not stability. But to be a good researcher, along with creativity you also need stability. Stability in thoughts means, one is able to come to good decision, able to understand different arguments, and come to some logical conclusion. A stable mind is nothing but a logical mind and a sound mind which is able to analyze the pros and cons of a given problem. I am confident to say that on the creativity front I am good. But I am weak in the logical front. So I am into an exercise to improve the logical part of my mind. The main requirements for a mind to think logically are the following:

(1) A serene and calm mind is absolutely needed. An agitated mind does not think logically. An agitated mind might think creatively but not logically (For e.g.: A 'stoned' singer may compose a mind-blowing tune but he cannot differentiate between day and night). Thus an agitated mind does not take any good decisions and also decisions taken with an agitated mind are usually very poor. So I am practicing the meditation technique proposed by Sahaj Marg (this was introduced to me by my friend Harish in Eindhoven) to improve the concentration. What is Sahaj Marg ? I am not learning this from a master/guru, but by reading the books found in and also listening to the recordings of the leader called Shri. Chariji. Also I am learning about meditation from various books by Shri Chinmoy and Shri Deepak Chopra. From my initial experience, reading from books is very easy. But practicing is very very difficult. I try to practice every day in the morning, afternoon, evening and night. By means of meditation, I want to develop concentration, awareness and a balanced mind so that logical decisions can be made. Also doing meditation reduces the level of stress, anger, frustrations, worry, jealousy, and other kinds of negative forces which constantly fight and reduce the efficiency of the brain. I have been recommended by friend to try Art of Living course. The course fee is $200, which I think is very expensive. If it is a good and useful course for the improvement of humanity it should be cheap or at least affordable. I wonder what is the reason for keeping such high fee, which is only affordable by well-off people. In any case, I will do some research on their teachings, try to read something about the way of breathing recommended by them and finally join the course if needed

(2) Eating good and a balanced food is very important to keep the mind and body fresh. Food with excess of sugar like ice-cream, chocolate, smoothes, all causes cravings for that kind of food and also eventually they slow your brain's power. Fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, milk and vitamin rich pulses improve your brain and also makes sure that your body is not starved of basic minerals. Eating at the correct time and also correct amount of food is extremely important for a balanced body which does not interfere with the mind process. I make sure that these conditions are met and I eat properly. Body is the vessel which contains the spirit/soul/mind. If the vessel is defective or weak the rest of the system will sink (meaning will not be able to do its job effectively).

(3) I try to see all my activities and behavior with an open mind. This is some kind of third eye which watches all my actions. I try my best to make sure that my actions are not just certain pre-programmed erroneous behavior.

(4) Time management. Ah!!! The most difficult practice which is always eludes me. At least, I have taken the first step in this direction. I try to write down all the pending tasks and make sure they are finished by the schedule time. At least I make sure trivial bureaucratic tasks are completed. This gives some satisfaction. I also constantly remind myself not to post-port or push-aside simple tasks. Do today's task today is the motto which I am trying to follow. Also most importantly, I have an organizer in which I store all the appointments and dead-lines so that I follow them correctly. The biggest problem because of wrong time-management is that not only you but others are also affected. And I am trying by best to avoid effecting another person’s job or responsibility due to my wrong time management.

I will continue to the research front organizations and decisions in the next part.


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