(from Tao 365, Deng Ming-Dao, P. 84)

Scholars, drunk on words and obscure meanings,
Weave a tangled web of concordances.
Simple practice never occurs to them.
Give up education, and the world will be better.

(education = academia?)

(pinched from taoism community). I do like this, especially since it hits close to home with my own tendency to get lost in words 🙂 Do I totally agree with it? not sure. Though I have found in myself that you can have such a thing as too much education and not enough real life.

Slides, empathy-in-progress

Friday night I gave my inner child a well-needed airing. Running around a kiddies fun-house with a motley collection of ninjas and web-designers. (Chris’ friends). Josie and I built up our courage gradually fo go down the really tall death-slide ; you know, the ones with near vertical drops. Luckily by this stage I have pretty much memorised the Dune-ism litany against fear. (“I must not fear, fear is the mindkiller…”). I had a wonderful time running about, playing tag, spinning round and round until I was nauseatingly dizzy and consuming lots of sugar. The wonderful thing was seeing so many young adults enjoying themselves, giggling, running about playfully – with absolutely no alcohol involved.

I have paid for this by muscle cramps, arm aches, and all kinds of signs of my general unfitness. How am I going to cope with farming and hiking I don’t know. The zealous part of my mind is trying to convince the apathetic part that getting up for early morning running would be a really good idea. The consumerist part butts in with a comment on needing running shoes plus an mp3 player to make this a viable option.

Saturday was very productively spent with Josie going through the WWOOF-japan book, identifying places that looked good, or could be worth it for a stop over. There are a couple of amazing sounding places, and I intend to focus every spare fibre of my being on getting my arse in gear and contacting them this week, as soon as possible. Must get things moving!


Saturday night and Sunday was spent with Zak. We managed to get out for a nice long walk around some lakes. There were a lot of emotional ups and downs – but it felt good to cry a bit and release some tensions. We are both pretty much exhausted at the moment, emotionally, spiritually, physically; he has more patience that I do but it’s got to the point that neither of us can really look after the other in the ways we’d like.

I have a long way to go with my understanding of other people. But that’s not a problem, as long as I’m willing to learn. The big thing I’ve realised is how much there is to gain from listening. REALLY listening, without judgement, which means suspending my ego-centrism and trying to understand the other person’s story. I’m not very good at this empathy malarky at all! But I want to practice. Because already, I have caught glimpses into other people that have opened up compassion and wonder and awe. I learnt…or saw… something about Zak this weekend that I’d just been blind to before. I also learnt a few more things about myself.

It’s very hard for me to -not- try and take things apart prematurely, to apply labels and judgements and make connections between what someone is saying and a theory or even just putting my own experiences in there and distorting it. One thing I’ve noticed and pondered on with scientific-methods is that they seem to all start with an answer. You have an answer (hypothesis) which you seek to confirm or disprove. When trying to understand a person, it’s very easy to start from this point, especially if you’ve had psychology training! But usually, I start with the ‘answer’s that are from my own life, and problems, and trials, and tend to try and find these in what someone else is saying. This seems to make me totally judgemental and also blind to what is really happening. Sometimes you have to start with NO answer or agenda.

“Close your text book and open your eyes” is a quote that comes to mind. It’s all well and good to have text books and theories, but I need to develop and practice my ability to look and listen without judgment if I want to allow myself to learn something new about a person, or the world around me.