Panchami's Training Journal

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Panchami created the topic: Panchami's Training Journal

I don't know whether there's an official moment to start your training journal, but it feels like the right time. I'll be updating this about once a week.

A bit more than a week ago, I finished the Introduction Course, and I've done very little coursework since. I've been very busy with some visiting relatives, but they're gone now, so I should have a bit more time to focus on Force 101 and Meditation. Actually, I've been reading the coursebooks through, and practicing some Meditation things -- as I've been doing some meditation already, I find it hard to approach the first few exercises as a complete newbie, but there's absolutely interesting material in the chapters. I've been pretty good about my 'other personal goals', meditating and writing 750words.com logs regularly. Also, found an option for a First Aid course, hope that works out.

:maul
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Kol Drake replied the topic: Panchami's Training Journal

It will happen when it happens...

Life will always be 'first priority' when balanced against the courses and that's okay. Later, if you can integrate your practices into 'Life' -- you find things may not be quite the rollercoaster they once seemed -- or, that you ARE on a rollercoaster but enjoying the heck out of the ride more then before.

:D

So, welcome to the beginning of the Beginnings.
Doing Meditation 101 and Force 101 -- you will find they tend to dovetail off and on during the weekly lessons.
Don't be afraid to ask questions or to experiment with what you learn.
Enjoy.
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Panchami replied the topic: Panchami's Training Journal

I'm currently reading Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which is completely beautiful so far, and it starts out with something that relates to the discussion on the implications of permanence that we had in my Spirituality Exercise post from the Introduction course. I'd like to share the first page of the book with those interested.

Milan Kundera wrote: The idea of eternal return is a mysterious one, and Nietzsche has often perplexed other philosophers with it: to think that everything recurs as we once experienced it, and that the recurrence itself recurs ad infinitum! What does this mad myth signify?

Putting it negatively, the myth of eternal return states that a life which disappears once and for all, which does not return, is like a shadow, without weight, dead in advance, and whether it was horrible, beautiful, or sublime, its horror, sublimity, and beauty mean nothing. We need take no more note of it than of a war between two African kingdoms in the fourteenth century, a war that altered nothing in the destiny of the world, even if a hundred thousand blacks perished in excruciating torment.

Will the war between two African kingdoms in the fourteenth century itself be altered if it recurs again and again, in eternal return?

It will: it will become a solid mass, permanently protuberant, its inanity irreparable.

If the French Revolution were to recur eternally, French historians would be less proud of Robespierre. But because they deal with something that will not return, the bloody years of the Revolution have turned into mere words, theories, and discussions, have become lighter than feathers, frightening no one. There is an infinite difference between a Robespierre who occurs only once in history and a Robespierre who eternally returns, chopping off French heads.

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Panchami replied the topic: Panchami's Training Journal

(Maybe a bit more than once a week.)

After dreaming I was Luke Skywalker a few nights ago (wielding a lightsaber was so awesome), I got around to watching Episode IV again, for the second time in my life and the first time as a fully conscious adult. It was pretty cool, dated in a cute way here and there, but definitely a good movie. I think most of the more in-depth, mystical Jedi talk with Yoda and stuff is in later parts, but it was a lot of fun to watch.

:explode

Now, time for some meditation practice. Hope to get the Force 101 assignment done this week, but it might be later.
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Panchami replied the topic: Panchami's Training Journal

General
In the past week, I've noticed my social skills are noticeably better than a few months ago. They were never terrible, but over the winter, I had gotten the feeling that they were going down-hill. There's two things that I think may have contributed to their return. First of all, about a month ago (maybe a bit longer), I started reading fiction again, with a passion. I did some research into emotional intelligence, and it appears that reading novels, short stories, etc. contributes to two skills that contribute to your EQ: it improves your vocabulary, which helps you label your own and others' emotions, but more importantly, it increases your empathy. Of course, as soon as I started up again, I remembered how much I just love reading for reading's sake, so it has been very enriching to my life in general; but it's nice to see that it's actually affecting my social skills to. The other thing might be that I blocked my browser from visiting 9gag and other meme sites, which were wasting a lot of my time. I knew it was the right decision the day that I did it, and I haven't missed them for a second. Now, I'm not really sure what that would have to do with social skills, but it occurred around the same time.

Other than that, things are also going pretty well. I'm meditating regularly (see below), I'm managing to work with fewer distractions, and I got a date set for a First Aid course. I agreed not to get a physical diploma, as that costs E25 more; I hope that's not too big a problem for advancement later on.

Meditation
I haven't written explicit journal entries about the first two lessons in the Meditation course, because they were things I've already been doing for a while. Currently, though, I'm practicing the meditation with a mantra. I started out with 'One', but it wasn't really doing anything for me, although I did notice I was distracted less easily with something to focus on. The last few times, I used the Sanskrit mantra 'So 'ham' instead, which means, in colloquial terms, 'That's me'. On the one hand, it really helps me focus, also with the additional syllable on the exhale, and I do actually start to feel really connected to Life, the Universe and Everything. On the other hand, there's so much to think about in that mantra, that I have to keep myself from switching to conscious thought mode. So far, it's going pretty well, though.

Force 101
I wrote the Week 1 assignments yesterday. I read the text on focus from Week 3. There's a lot in there that I already was convinced of, although I was a bit shocked by the difference in IQ drop between multitasking and marijuana use. I already try to keep multitasking to a minimum, and I'm acutely aware of the fact that I'm not good at multitasking at all. I'll pick up a postcard for the other Week 3 assignment somewhere or another and start doing that in the coming week.
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Kol Drake replied the topic: Panchami's Training Journal

Many with a background with years of meditation tend to have issues with the very basic level of the 101 course -- but then again, we *did* have to start somewhere and it *is* 101 level stuff. For those who have never even considered meditation of any kind; it can be 'new territory'. For practitioners -- it's 'oh, THAT stuff.'
:P

Any time you hit a lesson which is 'that stuff' -- feel free to question it; chew it over; chat with folks -- and even suggest changes or improvements which might help folks with your level of skills. These are 'learning lessons' but also 'teaching lessons' -- since we all tend to learn bits and pieces from the postings of our fellow IJRS-ers.

Fiction is good stuff. I've been a hard core reader since my first year of high school. Even today, I hit the county library and grabbed a half dozen books -- from science fiction to fantasy, politics to the supernatural. Okay, the politics one is not fiction but... I do have to stretch the old brain cells outside the 'real' realms of medicine, engineering, and spirituality I usually gloom onto at the hallowed halls of the printed page. And you are correct -- studies show reading stuff other then 'cheap romance novels' DO tend to keep yea olde brain cells working better. And with fiction, the MIND -- Imagination can allow for empathic 'connections' with the characters in a way that regular old 'real face to face' stuff tends not to. (( no barriers or masks when reading ... while 'in person'.... yoikes! ))

I need to go back over and read your Force work. (( that's my fave stuff... I leave the martial arts and such to the younger generation )) So, slide down your blast visor and let's see how well you can block those zapper bolts.
:lightsaber
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Panchami replied the topic: Panchami's Training Journal

Thanks a lot for the reply! I'm looking forward to your comments.

Yesterday evening, I had my first Rajayoga class. It's taught by this really nice guy who reminds me of Yoda a bit (that's right, I watched Episode V this week. Good stuff. :duel ) I'd done yoga once before, but that was really focused on doing all these different asanas (positions), and I actually hated it, also because I'm really not that flexible and pushed myself too hard. That stuff hurts. This kind of yoga, though, is still very close to how it started. It's more like guided meditation with some stretching every now and then than like a physical workout, and the instructor peppered the lesson with some statements about energy channels, elements, being one with the universe and such. I thought it was... well, alright: I do think I can learn quite a lot from these lessons, and it's probably great for my posture, but I didn't get into deeper meditation than I would just sitting still by myself, nor was I more relaxed afterwards. I was also a bit disappointed by how easily I was distracted by the word 'nipple' in a room full of nubile young maidens in yoga pants, although in general they were thankfully less distracting than I had feared. To sum it up, I think I'll go to this class a few more times if it doesn't get in the way of anything more important, but if it does, oh well.

In my 'private' meditation, meditating at least once a day has made a huge difference. Where a few weeks ago, I would need five to ten minutes for my thoughts to settle down, I can just start focusing on whatever I want to meditate on in seconds now. I've been waiting to progress further in the Meditation course until I'd caught up with Force 101. Yesterday, I finally realized that the landscape I needed for the Week 3 assignment, which I had such a hard time finding, has been hanging above my bed all along. So I'll start doing that exercise, and then I hope to move on to Week 4 in both courses in a few days.

Tonight, I'll be attending fencing class for the first time in a few weeks again. I found out a long time ago that I fence best when I shut down my conscious thought and let my subconscious deal with things; I'm curious to see how I'll do now my focus has increased due to the meditation. :jedi
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Panchami replied the topic: Release your anger: emotions and martial arts

So last night, I went to fencing class :lightsaber , and as an experiment, in the first bout I fenced, I tried to keep my mind completely still, and let my subconscious, the Force, what have you, do the fencing for me. It was a disaster: I was defeated 5-1 by a friend who is at about the same level of experience. He even asked me what was going on, so it wasn't just bad luck.

While I realize that I shouldn't base any conclusions on one experience, I payed more conscious attention to my other bouts, concluding that shutting my conscious mind down completely wasn't working, and I let myself get more involved, emotionally. At the end of the class, I challenged my first opponent to a rematch. This time, I was very much in touch with my desire to win, to avenge my honour, and I was consciously thinking about my strategy. I won 5-1.

So, while I didn't quite go on a Darth Sidious-inspired raging rampage, this is an example of getting better results not through peacefulness, but through passion. Thinking back, this seems to hold for my past experiences as well: being focused itself is not enough, I need to have an emotional relation to the outcome to perform at my best. Does anyone else have any insights about the role of emotions in martial arts or competitive sports?
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Jax replied the topic: Panchami's Training Journal

Is it passion actually?


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Jax replied the topic: Panchami's Training Journal

Where does focusing your energy on winning instead of being passive differ from passion?


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