Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mental fatigue and refreshment

Any topic gets exhausted.  There is a limit to our interest and willingness to read, study and examine it. Thus, we move from topic to topic.  Maybe we return to important topics from time to time.

Much like food.  I have often thought that one way to decrease appetite is to eat the same food at every meal.  Cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I haven't had the strength to try that but I bet I would find my appetite falling.  

When I started blogging, I wanted to try to make up for a hole in my teaching.  I taught research methods that might lead to improved educational practices.  But, over time, I found that the most valuable thing to learn was not statistical analysis or experimental design but meditation.  I know it sounds weird, dumb even, and those who are ready to add, subtract and compute are not accustomed to believing that something as spiritual as meditation can matter to their work. It is a topic, like sleep or personal hydration, that in most circumstances, strikes people as a ho-hum, uninspired or highly irrelevant subject.

I thought making the right explanations and helpful persuasion to try the practice would take time and many entries in a place of writing.  But I didn't count on my own motivation.  I am committed to meditating daily with my wife, who has a similar commitment.  However, my own commitment to the practice was not enough to keep up my appetite to find yet another angle for writing about sitting quietly for 13 minutes or so.  Once I started looking at a broader spectrum of subjects and ideas, I found a rich source of energy in myself for topics and composition of posts.

I found the same thing as a student.  I could study any topic for 30 to 60 minutes.  Then, my attention began to waiver.  But, stretching a bit and then taking up a different subject, whether or not the first one had been given sufficient effort, refreshed my energy level and concentration.

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