Sunday, 10 February 2008

Mindfulness Bell on the computer

Title: Mindfulness Bell on the computer
Related posts: N/A
Area: mindfulness, spirituality

Mindfulness Windows software
A system tray application to bring us back to the present moment
Mindfulness webpage
Same thing as above but webpage based.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

The choice about whether to walk the spiritual path alone or in a community

Inspiried by a question about whether it would be more wholesome to walk the spiritual path alone or in a community. I would like to share some of my opinions on this. According to Stephen R. Covey, there are 3 dimensions to our life, our public life, our private life and our secret life.The public life is about how we express ourselves in the public, the private life is about how we express ourselves with our family and close friends, and our private life is the way that we experience life when we are quiet and alone, it's about the way we connect with our inner guide or conscience, and the way we connect with our purpose and the way we connect with the universe. In Buddhism, there are the paths of the Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana, I believe that they each have their merit and speak to the conditions of particular individuals. In my personal experience, I would like to say that a bit of the community-based interaction would be very helpful, since we can guard ourselves from merely living our self-conjured wonderland and we can enjoy the companionship from such an environment and such companions can prove to be very helpful when we are facing difficulties in our life, esp our spiritual path; however, I believe that it's equally important to allow ourselves daily time to contemplate, reflect and meditate on our own, since these periods of time are most conducive to spiritual growth and maturity and it truly deepens our practice. I think that the best way to draw the line is to know ourselves very well, to know our current conditions, and the final decision that we make should always speak to our current conditions. I hope this helps.

A talk by Ajahn Brahm
which is somehow related.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Stack model for productivity

Even with the model of GTD (Getting Things Done) [see my previous posts], sometimes, we are a bit overwhelmed with a Next action such as clearing your desk because there seem to be some many objects on the desk, I suggest that you can break this task even further down by consider the atomic actions without even the effort to define them. I propose the stack model.

You can relate to a stack in whatever way you like, if you know anything about computer architecture, you can think about the stack model for assembler, whereas if you are familiar with washing dishes, you can think about washing dishes one by one as someone collects them from your kitchen table and piles them up for you to wash.

The main feature of the stack model is that you "push" and "pop" atomic objects, which are objects/actions which cannot be broken down any further, pushing meaning putting objects onto the stack and popping means taking objectcs away from the stack, the only rule is that you can only push to the top of the stack and you can only pop from the top of the stack.

Another cool feature about this model is the flexibility associated, since when you are processing and popping a particular task, you may stumble upon another immediate task, you push the new task onto the stack mentally or on a piece of paper, carry out this task, pop it, and go back to your original task, this is particularly useful since you know that there can be a lot of interruptions when we are doing anything.

Let's take an example of clearing your desk, you know that you objective is to clear the desk so that you can feel your environment being less cluttered and so that you can be more productive. First, you see a rubber/eraser, then you say to yourself, "push rubber", then you say to yourself, "this belongs to the pencil case", then you say to yourself, "pop rubber" as you find your pencil case and put your rubber there, then you proceed to your next object on your table. In this mechanical and robotic manner, you will find yourself accomplishing lots of these little tasks without effort! The core of this method is that you are only filling your mind with one object at a time, i.e. the rubber, and you are very unlikely to be overwhelmed by a single object this small!

Try this method out for yourself and you will be amazed by your productivity. However, use this method selectively, and you need make sure that you understand the bigger picture and that the tasks do actually serve a purpose instead of acting as a kind of distraction!

Tell me what you think. See the related entires on my blog.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Some thoughts on Spirituality

  • Spirituality
    • Compassion
      • Compassion in everyday life: On top of being compassionate to other people and ourselves, we have to be compassionate to our body too, e.g. we should be compassionate to our spots by not picking them, similarly for nose or nails, and similarly any fiddly behaviours with any parts of our bodies. This is an authentic practice of compassion
    • Use the terminology Being instead of Buddha or God for harmony, so Being is a more meaningful and useful term

Some thoughts on Productivity: Feb 2008

  • Productivity
    • To be able to get into the zone, to get into a productive state, one particular way to think of an experience in the past where we have been productive
    • Rules for planning and visioning
      • It is helpful to be idealistic when we are visioning but it is helpful to be idealistic when we are planning the steps that we are going to take
    • Use of mobile phone for productivities:
      • Use the drafts sections of messaging and the calendar applications to track your to-dos, I have found this very useful, for example, we only need one hand to jot down a note, we need 2 hands to hold a paper and a pen!

Some thoughts about management/self-management

  • Management and Self Management
    • An attitude that we can use for managing life: Zen of martial art, mind like water
    • Say "no" to certain activities or requests confidently because we have a much stronger burning "yes" which is linked to our values
    • Whatever activities you are thinking, consider whether they are in alignment with your values and if so, consider which value it is, in this way, we can live more consciously and effectively.
      • For me: working for ULUBUDA/ICBS is contributing to my value Contribution and language/culture learning for my value Connection with others

My links

My account is iph04

Take a look, do you happen to share any interests with me? ;)


My virtual bookshelf

My virtual bookshelf here:

Feb 08

BK Talk 1st Feb

Brahma Kumaris
1st February
Compassion and Empathy

Some points
  • Compassion fatigue arises when we focus my energy entirely on other people, but not ourself, this is disfunctional.
  • We should strive for the ability to relate to difference people at their levels, no matter whether they are rich or poor, it is helpful to relate to, at times, relate to other people in terms of how we have labelled them.
  • There is an element to do with left brain, right brain thinking, where the left brain is predominantly to do with logics, it likes to evaluate, whereas the right brain has to do with emotion/feeling, from which we can tap into or connect with our intuition. Intuition rather analytical thinking is a strong basis for compassion and empathy.
  • A very helpful question to ask when we face problem is "Can we identify the root cause?". We should let our conscience be guide, we should develop towards ourselves as well as other beings. If we solely focus on others, we may burn ourself out, this is clearly disfunctional. A very common saying, "To help others, we need to help ourselves elaborates this point quite well.
  • There are at least 2 levels of giving
    • Level 1: actions, material aids or supports.
    • Level 2: vibrations in terms of what our brains send out to the universe, feelings and thoughts, etc.
  • From a spiritual perpective, we should decouple the self from circumstances. A helpful affirmation for this would be "My original nature is a peaceful, loving one". A quote that I really like is "I am not a human being having a spiritual experience, I am a spiritual being having a human experience", I always find this quote very inspiring, and recalling this phrase seems to help me connect with my Source and Energy.
  • to be continued.

Friday, 1 February 2008

Joke of the day :)

When I phoned up AOL Technical Support and asked for Linux support just now, they said they would give me a number, it turned out to be 08705010100 and they said it is the Linux Support number, I didn't know that there is such a thing. When I called that number, it turned out to be Microsoft Technical Support! This is probably a good indication of how intelligent AOL Support staffs are :) Oh well, there's a price to pay for having AOL's free laptop which is running rather smoothly and it's so quiet comparing with my old Advent.

Life is fun when it's full of randomness like this.

A little Tree poem I wrote

Looking at a tree,
I think of Thee,
I now choose to set my mind free,
To do so, I count to Three,
One, Two, Three,
My mind is now free,
Dwelling in reunion with Thee.
God bless every tree~

My productivity tips

GTD (Getting Things Done) by David Allen is by far one of my favourite books. I don't actually own this book, I have the audiobooks version and I listen to it when I have the time to. That's why I actually enjoy my commuting, since I get to have to the time to concentrate on listening to these kinda things. Anyway, to tell you a bit about GTD, since, it's a set of principles and collection of best practices for productivity. Some like that described in the following articles:

From my experience, to make GTD more a part of my life, I
take notes ubiquitously with whatever pads or notebooks or paper I have
periodically organise my to-do lists and process my notes with Google Docs and Spreadsheet
put entries on Google Cal so that I can be reminded about time critical events by a text to my mobile phone.

I feel that I have become more productivity from reading GTD. I have also learn to organise my notes and references materials better, I have now gradually developed a habit to tag and date my printouts and paperworks. I have also developed more discipline in using my A-Z filing folder. I hope that my productivity habits learnt from GTD will continue.

Give GTD a try!