a bhante said (i paraphrase, as usual) -
einstein must have done a lot of meditation in his past life… look at him, can keep so many sums in his head while doing calculations. he must have a lot of samadhi.
i laughed at this at first. how can you mix eastern and western together, much less science and religion? though i am a buddhist, i do tend to compartmentalise my life and i somehow thought that buddhism didn’t really “fit into” that part of the world. then i thought, whatever, screw boundaries haha. i can use this to learn! the west / normal laypeople may call it concentration, genius, while learned buddhists can call it samadhi. it’s quite uplifting in a way, that, oh! we just need good samadhi (a more reasonable goal) to get further, not some mad scientist spark like most people say when they think of einstein.
also, in the anguttara nikaya, the buddha says that (pp’ed)
the reason for doubt is inadequate concentration.
this is a great phrase, especially relevant these days to me. i’d made quite a few mistakes, including looking through an eardrum seeing that the eardrum was quite intact when actually there was a pretty obvious perforation right in the middle. other little mistakes like that, and i start to doubt myself. is my mind so cloudy and murky that i cannot see what is in front of me clearly? i know i should not beat myself up over things like these, but i’ve always been quite a perfectionist, or, usually, i don’t get what i want and i don’t reward myself as a result. (sometimes i kind of resign myself to the fact that i won’t achieve my unrealistic goals, but okay whatever. that whiny story another day :P). anyway, these mistakes in observation and PE have led to me doubting a lot of my clinical examination skills - stuff vital to become a doctor.
i started doubting myself. whether my personality was suitable.
then i came across this line in the sutta, which led me to think - hey, there is a way out of this. if buddha says so (and i trust the dhamma more than a lot of stuff), then to improve all i need is adequate (full, is my interpretation) concentration.
my exam’s coming soon, so studying a lot. i always feel the need to turn on music when i study. i know it makes my mind less sharp though, but i’ve never really asked myself why i want to listen to music while studying. these are the usual culprits -
- looking for distraction. happens to everyone!
- something to keep me awake (happens >12am)
- to quieten my mind
i realised my mind is usually blaring some annoying song or the other, and i usually turn on (better) music to quash that down. but… you know the whole you can’t end wars with violencething? i shouldn’t use more music to dampen the noise in my mind. i should just let it settle before i can let my whole mind surrender, let go, unleash (haha) to concentrating on what’s in front of me right now.
very exam orientated thoughts, haha. finally, as a (fitting) paradox, here’s a song whose title summarises what i’m trying to get at.