Today is day 2 of jury duty. We were told to come back at 9:30am and so I arrived around 9:15am. When I walked in, I was overwhelmed by how many more people there are compared to the day before. That’s because there are the folks like myself who are on their second day and then there is the set of new blood. Yesterday, as I was sitting and waiting, I had a fleeting thought that the jury selection process is much like samsara…an endless cycle. The way it works is that you check in to the juror waiting realm. Here’s where you can sort of relax, read, or surf the web if you bring your laptop (I brought it today). Then the system randomly (or is it that random?) selects a few names and when the staff person calls your name, you have to proceed to a judge’s courtroom realm. There the judge gives a brief overview of the case and another computer randomly calls you into the jury box realm. If you don’t get into the jury box, you can still see what’s going on. The judge asks a series of questions to screen the potential jurors and the lawyers from each side also have the option to excuse a few jurors. It’s all based on knowing their prior experiences, formulating a judgement about those experiences, and then acting upon that judgement. Karma. If you don’t get selected as one of the jurors, you are recycled back into the juror waiting realm. And then the whole process begins again. Luckily, I was not selected yesterday. But it was a close one since I answered one of the questions in the affirmative and told the judge I might be a bit biased. It was an honest answer
Stuck in jury duty today. I’m secretly glad since I can actually be productive and get some reading done without being disturbed. It’s also one of the best places to people-watch. It’s like being in a library. People trickle in and take seats in different parts of the room. Intuitively, I think we space ourselves out. We establish “our zone.” Same thing happens in a yoga class. You wouldn’t normally put your mat right up against another’s unless you really had to. Amazingly, there at the social anomalies. One Asian chick walked in and plopped down next to this guy (when there were so many other seats) and started to chat up a storm, pretty much telling him her life story. Annoying. I moved far far away from them.
Last night I went to the final dharma talk of a series that David Nichtern gave at OM Yoga. It was about Karma – how to recognize our habitual tendencies and how to shift those habits with a dedicated meditation practice. I’ve always thought a lot about karma as a kid (and heard it about it frequently during dharma talks at temples, with Dad, etc). The whole idea of cause and effect was somehow reassuring to me since I felt empowered to control the future in a way. And if you believe in lifetimes, then you can affect future lives. It’s all so simple. I think of it as a credit/debt system. You build up good credit or you build up debt. And then you’ll have to pay up or redeem your good fortune. Sometimes, I feel funny about paying money to listen to dharma talks since I’ve always had free access to them. But I find David’s talks enjoyable and enlightening and filled with good reminders. (Will be going to another one next Monday). During the discussion, I asked David to talk about linkages and why there’s seemingly an uneven distribution of “karma.” Since he made an analogy to washing dishes (if you don’t do the dishes today, they’ll be there tomorrow), I asked why it seems like we have to do other people’s dishes sometimes. He thought I was dealing with a personal issue but I was really just thinking of the world at a macro level. Why does it seem like some people are just always down and out and others have good fortune even though it doesn’t seem like they deserve it? As an adult, I’ve often wondered why some people don’t “get what’s coming to them.” Or maybe I just don’t see it. If I could have one superpower, it would be to see the inner workings of karma. Like maybe there’s an app that let’s you see the direct effects of certain actions. But I know it’s not a one to one relationship. It’s just that when you hurt in some way or you see a group of people hurt (through no visible fault of their own), you want that hurt to happen to the perpretrator.
Meditation helps us to slow down and see what’s going on before reacting, and therefore shift “karma”. It’s definitely something I need to work on. Having a practice would probably have prevented the numerous battles I’ve had with family members and loved ones. Yesterday, I hurt V because I unconsciously rolled my eyes as he was telling me something. During the talk, I kept reflecting back to that moment. Because of my action, I caused a bunch of negative emotions which didn’t have to happen. Yeah, karma.
ZocDoc is an awesome site. That’s how I found the ear specialist who helped me and that’s how I found my new ob-gyn. Since I’m approaching a certain age, I thought I should find a “real” doctor instead of going to my primary physician who doubled as both. :P I’ve been going to my primary doctor for over 5 years and have had one bad experience after another. Nothing major but it all adds up. My first appointment with Dr. Fong was just wonderful. That’s saying a lot since going to a “female” doctor is probably in my top 5 most dreaded events in life. She was warm, friendly and knowledgeable, and didn’t shrug off my questions with bored disinterest. Comparing her and my former doctor is like day and night. I wonder if her being Asian had anything to do with how I felt in her presence but I doubt it. She was just someone you feel you can talk to and depend on from day one. Better yet, I told her I wanted to find a new family doctor and she recommended someone who has an office close to where I work. Double score! :-)
Keeping a journal/blog is like yoga. It takes a lot of discipline and focus. By nature, I’m not a writer but I appreciate how “writing” stuff down is helping me to retain a lot of the new info. We learned that yoga means relationship. Just as I am getting to know myself more through this training, this blog is another aspect of a relationship with myself. >_<
The other night, I went to a professional talk on data visualization and it really inspired me to think about visualization projects I can tinker with. Notable projects include Nicholas Felton’s data viz’ed annual reports which depict all aspects of his life from the relationships he’s made to the food that he’s ingested. I mean, isn’t this a great way towards becoming more mindful and aware of your life? What if I tracked how many downward dogs I’ve done during the year? Or how many times I’ve meditated? Not really as a goal but just to keep stats. Another project I loved was Laura Kurgan’s Million Dollar Blocks. Saw this a few years ago when it was up and was blown away then. The project has progressed and the numbers she shared that night regarding how much was spent on putting folks in prison was staggering. During the Q&A session, someone asked about the speakers’ design process and Laura said that she sees it as the relationship between 2 data sets. Hmmm. Aren’t we just made up of data? In class, we’re learning about the main relationships in each asana so maybe I can visualize that in some way. :)
“Each time you make a decision to do or not to do something, that becomes data.”
We’re required to do two meditation sessions per week and make entries in our diary. This is the very first entry for meditation.
I thought that I should probably go to some group sessions to ease into this practice. It’s just so hard to sit still by yourself. There’s always something to do. Luckily, two yoga buddies from the OM Costa Rica retreat last year invited me to a talk at The Interdependence Project that would include a brief meditation session. I’ve been curious about the ID Project and so I decided to check it out with them Monday night.
The meditation session was 7 minutes and included a combination of body scanning and contemplation. I also did some Shamatha meditation. For the contemplation portion, we were asked to think about our names. My mind went first to the fact that Cindy is not my “official” name and how I think my real name sounds too masculine and oh! how I wished my parents gave me an easy to pronounce/easy to spell name. And then, how my name means something like continuous happiness or joy. I looked up ‘Cindy’ once and I think it means moonchild. Next, I contemplated how the middle character in my Chinese name looked like a fish skeleton with wings. All the while, the right side of my body was feeling achy.