Sunday, June 22, 2014

Reflection and rumination: back then and tomorrow

Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) is often considered the first person to use writing his thoughts and reactions to life as a tool for his own amusement and development.  Sarah Blakewell is a British librarian and writer who wrote "How to Live", a collection of Montaigne's essays and comments on them.  Her book has just been published in Slovenia and Turkey, as well as many other countries.  This subject of being alive, being aware of life and its gifts and challenges, is fundamental all over the world.

Montaigne was a sensitive and intelligent man with his eyes open, seeing himself and others clearly.  This page of Brainy quotes captures some of his insights, such as "I have never seen a greater monster nor miracle in the world than myself."

Rather than spend too much time thinking and thinking about yourself and what you think about yourself and how you think and whether you should blah, blah, blah, you can just focus on your breathing, or what you can actually see from where you are right now.  You could try the Rinzai Zen approach and ask a friend to smack you.  The sudden physical jolt will probably jar you into seeing and thinking differently.

There are all kinds of tools and methods in this life.

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