Studies of Life

Learning by doing.

Category Archives for: meditation

Have some tea, take a walk: daily rituals

02 October 2017 by Jim

Tea drinking (or coffee, if you prefer) and walking are incredibly simple activities, but have something deeply ritualistic.

When you drink tea, you have a series of steps to follow, an algorithm if you like, that involve boiling water – in itself a multi-step process – using some form of tea leaves, in a teabag, or loose-leaf in a metal or ceramic filter, and combing them to transform these initial ingredients into a product that is like a cake, like something you cooked or baked.

Of course, using loose-leaf tea, a pretty cup, or even a ceramic teapot makes the process more ceremonious than a microwaved plastic cup with a cheap tea bag in it. But in any case, it’s a ritual. And so is walking for 20 minutes or so, for the purpose of walking. Not the kind between your desk and the toilet, which is utilitarian in nature, but longer walks that you could reasonably cover with other forms of transportation, yet choose to cover with your feet. That, again, is a ritual where you become aware of what you are doing and do it for its own sake. You don’t walk to arrive from A to B as quickly as possible. The car can do that better than your feet. And you don’t drink tea because you’re thirsty (a glass of water would do) or in the mood for really nice taste (there’s coke in the fridge). (more…)

Applied Buddhism – The Milan Awakening for the Solo Traveler

01 May 2017 by Jim

Thinks you see while walking through Milan.

From April 26 to 28, I was in Milan, on my own, to see the city and take a break from day-to-day life. It was not my first solo travel experience – I’ve been to Paris, Sao Paulo, New York, Berlin on my own – but it was certainly a new kind of travel experience for me.

My mindset is what set this one apart from the previous journeys.

Previously, solo travel has been a somewhat tortuous process for me. Despite the fact that I appreciated each experience in hindsight and found it well worth doing, in the moment of travelling, alone and often bored, confronted with expectations of what solo travel should look like and how enjoyable it should be, I was often quite frustrated. (more…)