Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Zen of a Rubix Cube

I've been working on a Rubix Cube lately, and it has been an interesting experience in multiple ways.

I know, as everyone is so keen to point out, that there is a formula to solving it.  But I'm not willing to look it up.  I want to see if I can figure it out on my own.  I've reached a point where I can solve about two-thirds of it with relative ease, but the rest is proving to be quite the challenge.

I noticed, along the way, that somehow the whole thing is oddly Zen.  That's kind of weird to say, because it's impossible to say what Zen is and what it isn't (I think?).  Zen is everything and Zen is nothing, so the whole thing is this a weird/amusing/mind-blowing conundrum.  But, putting that aside...

When trying to solve it, it seems that most of my efforts are too forced, or something like that.  For instance, I'll be exploring different angles/arrangements/combinations of the sides, not making any progress, when all of a sudden I will somehow just instinctively make some changes to it that move me in the right direction.  And I don't know how exactly I reached the thoughts necessary to do that.  It's almost as if there is some part of my mind that needs coaxing, and when it eventually decides to strike, my normal brain is not sure what happened.  This reminds me of some of the experiences I've had with meditation, when you struggle and struggle to be calm or to stay in meditation, and then, without warning, your whole mind is operating in some new way.  It is also very reminiscent of various
descriptions of how students of Zen "solve" koans.

In finally coming to understand a few "tricks" or sequences that allow me to recreate certain changes to the overall cube, it is quite mind-expanding to see how circuitous the necessary steps can be.  At first you think you just have to turn one side in one direction, for example, and then you realize that you actually have to shift an edge to another side, before you can make the required change and then shift everything back.  It is somehow both beautifully complex and simple.

Also, a Rubix Cube helped me to understand a Zen idea that I sometimes have trouble with, which is that we are trying to return to "original nature".  It's a strange idea that we somehow came from a state that is, paradoxically, the state in which we currently are.  See the following  article:    http://apocryphile.org/jrm/articles/merton.html

Anyway, with that, I'm going to go back to working on my Rubix cube.

Monday, August 11, 2014

filled with regret?

Sigh.  It seems my entire existence can be summed up by a single sigh, at least currently.   I'm currently in Folsom visiting my aunt/uncle/nieces,  which is a fairly comforting way to pass the time,  but I still can't help but question basically everything.   I'm reminded,  a little bit,  of the movie "Inception," in which Saito says "don't you want to take a leap of faith? Or do you want to become an old man, filled with regret? "  I'm currently struggling,  perhaps just a little,  to not be drowning in regret of my own.   Mostly, of course,  this is because of the accident.   Although,  I guess I was dealing with a lot of angst just prior to my accident as well.  Now it's just considerably more.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Not Feeling Good (relatively)

Things are not always perfect in your mind.  Or, to be more specific, things are not always perfect in my mind.  Sometimes you plan things that don't work out exactly the way you want them to, and that just kinda throws everything off kilter.

But, as I was thinking earlier today, sometimes you just have to take your "problems" and force yourself to contrast them with some other situations in life:
















Wake up.  Wake up.  Wake up.  Your life, by and large, is probably fantastic compared to the REAL problems that people have in life.  Maybe your job isn't perfect, maybe the food in your fridge is bland, maybe your furniture is shabby....there is a higher purpose to life than dealing with issues like that!

We all need to remember what we want is often very far from what we actually need.  I've been doing way too much bitching lately (although admittedly, I currently have some super considerably good reasons to do so:  i.e. my motorcycle accident and all the resulting health problems see this recent post: HTTP://shadowofacloud.blogspot.com/2014/05/first-update-in-long-long-time.html).   Anyway, make the best of what you do have and try not to worry too much about you don't.  I know that's usually easier said than done...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

first update in a long, long time

ugh.  this is my first post since 10/29/2013.  You may want to grab a beverage and/or a snack, because this a long, long tale (that still continues).  In my defense (not that I have any followers/fans to apologize to or whatever), I was in a catastrophic motorcycle accident on November 7th of last year.
I was on my way to meet my girlfriend for dinner when a young woman (I'm not sure how old...)"failed to yield " and hit my motorcycle with her  SUV.

  Since then I have been in 4 hospitals: UCLA   Harbor, UCLA Ronald Reagan, Vibra Hospital, and Sharp Memorial (in which I went through  in-patient therapy).  I also went through a program that is part of Sharp, called 'the Community Re-Entry Program, or CREP for short.  This has definitely been the most challenging chapter of my life (way more challenging than puberty, haha).  I have had to re-learn how to walk, dress myself, bathe, groom, etc.  Maybe "re-learn" isn't really the right verb.  It's just that doing all of those things is now horrifyingly difficult.  Now I am doing out-patient therapy through a program called "Rehab Without Walls," in which therapists come to my house to do rehabilitative things with me (basically it is all the various kinds of therapy: physical, occupational, cognitive, and even recreational <the fun one>.  It is relatively cool.

Perhaps I should explain what happened so that this epic tale has some context:  I was in a coma for I believe about a month.  My parents were in Hawaii at the time, so I guess I cut their vacation a little short.  I broke both of my legs, my left arm, some of my ribs, my left hip, and my nose.  Additionally, as a result of the broken ribs, my lung collapsed.   I'm just damn lucky I didn't break my spine.  However, as a result of my head being shook (shaken?) around inside my helmet, I have a severe traumatic brain injury.  Bummer!  Luckily, I'm still very intelligent and I can still speak Chinese, although reading and writing Chinese is a little more difficult.

So, basically every weekday, I have one of those kinds of therapy, and often more than once a day (for example, I might have physical therapy in the morning and cognitive therapy in the early afternoon
(this is where a sarcastic "yay!" is inserted).

Currently, as I write this post, I am waiting for my physical therapist to arrive.  Physical is always my least favorite type of therapy.  I was never much of an athlete in high school or college.  I did like to go to the gym when I was in college, but in typical male fashion, I basically only paid attention  to my upper body.  Recovering has definitely been the greatest challenge I've ever been through.  And I suspect I won't ever be the same as I was before my accident, physically, mentally, or emotionally.  "Emotionally" is an interesting dimension to examine  though.  I'm definitely just as friendly and kind as I was before my accident, but after seeing all the people in the 'CREP' program, I definitely have a new (or somewhat modified) sense of appreciation for what I do have.  A lot of the other people in that program were in similar situations, but were much older.  That's always a bummer, as recovery becomes more difficult as you age.  As part of my progression back into real life, one of my therapists (I believe it was cognitive) recommended I continue blogging.  Thus this post was created.  Farewell for now.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013