Archive for the ‘Einstein’ Category

Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods. –Einstein

Long hair reduces the need for barbers; socks can be done without; one leather jacket solves the coat problem for many years; suspenders are superfluous. –Einstein

Today I was driving down the road and I saw a man driving a van with his arm dangling out the window. I was thinking about something else and I glanced over and thought to myself, hairy arm. That was all. Just hairy arm and then back to business. But then another voice, a voice that sounded a little like a man who might do the voiceovers on a toothpaste commercial, entered from stage left and exclaimed, no, no, NO! That arm is so very hairy! Don’t you feel  squeamish looking at it? Ew.

At this point we had stopped at a red light and so I glanced back over to the man’s arm to check if I felt squeamish about it. No. No, I don’t feel squeamish. It’s just a hairy arm. Leave me alone Toothpaste Voiceover Man Head Voice.

Oh, said TVMHV, then left me alone in the car.

I’m taking a meditation class at the Brahma Kumaris Center here in town. Yesterday the teacher spoke about a thing called sanskaras, which are grooves carved into our consciousness by our past experiences. Once something happens the same way more than once, it creates a groove or a rut. When we have a new experience which is similar to something that happened to us in the past (maybe I heard somebody say once that hairy arms are gross?), we can slip into the groove of our sanskara as a shortcut, because it’s easier than recreating our response anew again.

Some sanskaras are good, like organizing your desk when you feel stressed out or putting flowers on the kitchen table for dinner. Often though, our sanskara do not benefit us. Maybe you get enraged when someone cuts you off on the street. Maybe you lie about your age. Maybe you judge people with hairy arms. You perceive the world, and then you make a judgement based on your past experience.

But what if you’ve changed your mind? Or you want to change your mind, but your sanskara is so deep that you just keep doing the same thing despite your desire to change? The teacher of my meditation class said that we must train our intellect to take charge of the thoughts that run through our heads. Otherwise we are pulled through the world on these pre-carved ruts, and we cease to have the ability to make our own, authentic way.

I’m proud of myself for using my intellect today. Somewhere in this world is a man with hairy arms who doesn’t need to defend himself from my invisible but damaging judgmental thoughts. It’s a small but worthy victory. Aahhh. Sweet victory.


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