Tuesday, August 14, 2012

This and That

A friend of mine is writing a book that all of us can make good use of (especially those of us who are over 50). It's called Brain Vitality, and the basis is that all of us can grow new brain cells and keep our brains functioning well as we age. Ann uses exercise -- mostly on the mild side and suitable for all ages -- and lifestyle choices to accomplish this. I've already added her hint about crossover exercise (crossing the midline to trigger left/right brain communication) to my own daily exercise routine. Ann has been a yoga teacher for many years, is a good writer, and also a great example of practicing what you preach, so I expect the book to be a valuable addition to my own library. She's also donating many of them to good causes, for the benefit of people who can be helped by what's taught in the book.You can get more info, and pre-order the book if you wish, here.

Our cool weather continues, with thunderstorms rumbling through around 3:30 am and good rains yesterday afternoon. Weather radar shows more headed this way from Alabama. It's unimaginable to have several nights in a row of 67 degree lows in August here -- but I'm not complaining. Well, being me I do complain because the house is actually cooler than I like, so I'm in a sweatshirt, and sit with a light throw over my legs when I read, but it's not serious complaining. Much prefer this to 105! I've noted before that this is a cold house -- very hard to keep warm in the winter, but that's what makes it reasonably comfortable to live in it without AC in the summer, too. It's cooled off quite nicely over these past days and the pattern is forecast to continue through the week, at least. Weird, but pleasant.

I'm starting to think about packing and other preparations for my next trip -- I drive off a week from tomorrow, headed to Jesup, in south Georgia, for three weeks. I'll be visiting the Southeast Vipassana Center, where I'll sit a 10-day course, then stay on to serve (work in the kitchen) the following course. I'm gonna be curious to see how much difference there'll be between this course and my first one, over 7 years ago. That one was pure torture, physically and mentally, but I've done a lot of sitting since then and learned a lot, so I expect (hope!) that this one won't be so bad. If you wonder why I want to go if it was that bad, it's because despite the discomfort it was a great experience and I learned a lot. I should learn even more this time, and these centers and courses are one of the few places I know of where one can isolate oneself in total silence for such a long time. Most meditation retreats are silent, but most places also don't enforce that rule. The Vipassana centers enforce it strongly -- we're not even supposed to have eye contact with another person because that's communication of a sort, and communication of any kind is not allowed. Sounds harsh, but that's what makes it work.

Later, y'all.


  1. ...sounds like torture to me. LOL I spend too much time alone to not enjoy a good conversation whenever the opportunity presents itself. Cannot imagine leaving my own quiet space to live in another quiet space. But then, I am not a Buddhist. Have a great time...

    1. I spent most of my time alone, too, but being alone is not the same as total silence. Even when we're alone, when we're out in the world there are opportunities to distract ourselves from what goes on inside. We can watch TV, listen to music, read a book, talk on the phone, go shopping -- anything at all. But in a place of silence, with no distractions, you have no choice but to listen to what's going on inside you, and that's the point. Not necessary to be a Buddhist -- most insight meditators are not Buddhist, but the techniques work for anyone. Of course, not everyone is interested in the inner workings of their minds. :)