Sustainable Pace

July 19th, 2019

What do I gain from meditation?

During my weekend at a Zen monastery, there were two Q&A sessions with the Zen master, where more or less the same questions kept popping up. This blog post is about "What do I gain from meditation?", the question "What do I do during meditation?" has its own blog post. What do I gain from meditation? It's not a wellness thing Counterintuitively, Zen meditation is not supposed to relax you or make you feel better (although it might). It's about being present and experiencing what is happening here, right now. See what is actually there, and not just an interpretation or a filtered version of it. So there is nothing to "gain" per se, and even if you manage to be present in the moment,…

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July 19th, 2019

What do I do during meditation?

In mid-January I started to meditate almost daily. Since I attended a seminar at a Zen monastery in March, my practice has become even more stable. I start each day at about six in the morning with a sitting meditation for 15 to 20 minutes. It was quite an invasive change in my daily routine - so why do it? Well, last year I had problems getting enough sleep. At night, my body was tired and my brain was busy, and during the day it was vice versa. I also had increasing problems with my back despite having established a quite stable yoga practice. I felt I was not getting enough rest. I even took 10 days of unpaid vacation to tackle this problem. But only after a breakdown I realized how…

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May 18th, 2018

Working Out Loud and the Five Ways to Well-being

As I have volunteered to do a workshop on Working Out Loud in July I'm thinking more about why it seems to work almost effortlessly. In his book, John Stepper mentions the relationship to intrinsic motivation and its contributing factors like autonomy, competence and relatedness. A long time ago I've written a summary of Bruno Frey's book Happiness that also touches these issues. At that time I was also interested in what the New Economics Foundation nef) released as "The Five Ways to Well-Being". They identified five core activities that contribute to well-being: Connect, Be active, Take notice, Keep learning, Give. Read more about it in the PDF document. Looking back now, I find it…

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May 6th, 2018

Working Out Loud (John Stepper, 2015)

Working Out Loud is a book by John Stepper and describes a framework for taking control of your life and career. The core idea is creating a reinforcing loop by employing the five pillars of Working Out Loud identify a goal ("purposeful discovery") find people who could help you ("building relationships") work transparently towards this goal in increments ("making you and your work visible") increments are ideally contributions to people you seek help from ("leading with generosity") benefit from an extended network, learn and get better, extend your goal or pivot ("a growth mindset") Why does it work? The short answer is intrinsic motivation - you will perform better when you are pursuing…

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March 11th, 2018

Thinking, Fast And Slow (Daniel Kahneman, 2011)

This book was referenced in so many other stuff I was reading, so I finally bought and read it. Fast and slow The premise of Kahneman's book is that there are two different modes of thinking: a faster, low-energy, intuitive mode, and a slower, high-energy, rational mode. The fast mode is best at basic cognitive stuff, like driving a car on an empty road and reading traffic signs, while the slow mode is essential for non-trivial stuff, like parallel parking or multiplying large numbers. The fast mode is generally used over the slow mode, simply because it consumes less energy. Fast mode being the default mode can be problematic because it easily leads to wrong conclusions, a popular example…

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