A major new project, part II

On Tuesday, March 7th, I posted about how I was taking some time to reevaluate the things I’m giving my attention to, and how I am giving up Twitter and Facebook in order to make time for the things I want to cultivate in my life. Today, I want to write about the things I’m hoping to do with the time I’m not wasting on social media.

Chief among my goals is a real commitment to daily contemplative practice. For the last couple weeks, I have been making some effort to spend 30 minutes or more sitting in meditation. Although this sounds like it is easy to achieve, it has been very difficult to realize, even in spite of these benefits and my motivation to sit more.

If you are interested in Vipassana meditation, there are many great resources available. Basically, the idea behind Vipassana meditation is that one can come to see the true nature of reality by learning to focus on the breath and the various sensations experienced during meditation.

Another practice that I want to see more of is reading. Over the last several years, I have seen my book list grow to something more akin to a book itself. Although it is organized by year, there is very little organization to it, other than the fact that I would generally just add interesting authors and titles to the list as I came across them. Surely there are several books on there that I would probably not choose to read today, though the fact remains that there are most definitely a number of books that I should have read before now. So, to that end, I’m choosing to turn my attention to engaging in some real reading material.

The next item that I want to cultivate is not as much out of a desire to do it, but more as a necessity of my life — namely, Japanese language study. It is really shameful how much my ability to speak, read, and write Japanese has degraded over the 15 years since I worked here on the JET Programme in 2000-2001. Now that I am really living in Japan again, my language skills need to improve dramatically, if I want to have anything resembling a normal, productive life here. To that end, I am working to enroll in a Japanese language course at the University of Tokyo in the next month. My experience here in Tokyo, this far, says that I really need some daily requirements and structure, not to mention more opportunities to listen and speak to other people in Japanese. Although this item is currently third on my list of things to do, I know that this will require a higher priority in my life, in practice. So going forward, I will have to accept that improving my language skills may intrude on other life goals that I want to cultivate.

Finally, I want to recognize and show respect to the deep embarrassment that I feel about this blog. I have always wanted to have a blog. To write something. To regularly contribute to something . . . out . . . there. So far, my actions have shown that this is where my interest ends. Although it may be the case going forward as well, I’d really like to give it another go. So, I am currently lining up some items about what I’m doing — the things I’m doing here in Japan, what podcasts and music I’m listening to, and all the other things that grab my attention. So, without making any promises, I want to just let you know that this blog isn’t dead — it is just going to be what I put into it. Hopefully I can make a good showing in the next few weeks.

Thank you very much for your attention to my ramblings

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