Thursday Thought

Thursday Thought: Slow

It takes the corpse flower about 17 years to bloom. Cicadas come down from their trees in about the same time period. It takes a human life about this same time to even begin the process of maturation. It took Leonardo Da Vinci nearly 17 years to complete the Mona Lisa -- and he thought himself a failure the entire time. There are indeed events, flash events, that instantly change the landscape of the Earth, or our lives, or both. The hurricanes and earthquakes and tsunamis. But even after these events, time must take its course to recalibrate and realign to a shifted landscape. For, most of life is slowly unfolding. It is going through its half-life decay as things slowly erode and imperceptibly shift. The human life seems so short -- butterflies flitting about the stolid wind for only but a day. Or maybe it's our time that seems short, particularly when compared to the majestic mountain or the vibrant pulse of our very Earth. But our perspective seems myopically proportional to our own lifespan.  Perhaps the red giant star laments that it is only able to blaze brightly for 300 million years,  quietly envious of the humble suns able to shine for billions. A great many things happen during the human life. Flashes of an infinity of teachers who look into the eyes of youth with hope and promise, and assure them that they can become all that they dream of. And some of them do. For in the sum of our lives, as many things happen as are capable of happening for a single individual. That's because there are many hours that go unacknowledged. Many minutes that happily sing in the background or hum melancholy hymns as they quietly pass, never invited into the arena of our…
Brenton Weyi
February 22, 2018
Thursday Thought

Thursday Thought: Identity

Where is our sense of self? And where does it change? "Man can learn nothing except by going from the known to the unknown" -- Claude Bernard I am... What is your identity?  Identities are born out of the ether of the unknown. The give us definition as contrasted and juxtaposed against the mist of the formless. But like an ethereal mist, intertwined bundle of narratives can be just as difficult to grasp. They are formed at the deepest level of our being far before we are ever conscious of them: our socioeconomic status, a reputation for athleticism, praise for being the funny one or a quick thinker. But sometimes identities can become cages. We form expectations around having to live up to a certain reputation. Or worse, we fall into a limiting belief around our identity.  "I'm just a big guy, that's just too I am." "I'm just impatient...have always been that way."  "I'm just not good with people, that's what everyone tells me." How would you complete the following statements? "To most people I know I am the ______ one." "To myself, I am the _______ one." Regardless of what your statements may be, the brain relishes in these reinforcing loops. The subconscious mind loves nothing more than repetition and expectation. If we can expect to wake up day in and day out and be the awkward person or the outspoken person or the messy person, then we don't have to brush up against the unknown. But so often we do want to change these fundamental identities in order to spark our own evolution. And yet, we're afraid of becoming a different person who people -- or maybe our self -- may not recognize. "I'm afraid I'm going to look into the mirror and see a different person." …
Brenton Weyi
February 16, 2018
Uncategorized

On Pursuit. Control. And Surrender.

So much of life is punctuated by the idea of pursuit: of acquiring more knowledge; accumulating more accolades; gaining a stronger grasp on this nebulous thing we call living.   No person knows why we are here, and so we greatly concern ourselves with making sense of our world. We also know that this world is a much more vast than one mind can ever understand. This is why we laud the importance of social roles.   Let the scientists unearth mysteries of the physical world. Let the musicians unravel emotional experiences. Let spiritual leaders explore the realms beyond words. This is why whenever someone makes a new discovery or achieves a new human feat, we always use the word "we." We just discovered gravitational waves. We just unlocked a new part of the mind. We just solved a new human mystery.      This pursuit is so noble and so necessary because it helps us make sense of something that cannot be grasped. And yet, It also underscores our desire for control. If we can control our world, we don't have to fear it. If we can control our world, nothing can sneak up on us in the dark throes of the night.   But there will always remain a part of the world that will be beyond our control and beyond our grasp. No matter how many tireless hours we spend as a collective, we will never unlock them all. And so in this way we must learn to be the opposite.   We must learn to surrender.   We don't know why major chords make us happy and minor chords make us sad in music. We don't know why we are arrested by the sight of a sublime sunset. We don't know how the brain can accomplish so…
Brenton Weyi
November 3, 2017
SelfThursday Thought

Thursday Thought: On Subtraction

  "Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant." -- Horace I once met a man who has all of the conventional trappings of success -- money, health, material goods, etc. But when I asked him what loves most in life, rather than discussing his wealth, he said something that gave me a moment of pause. "I love travelling. I love travelling because I travel to suffer."  We paused and looked at each other for a moment. He continued. "I don't stay in luxury hotels. I don't ride around in taxis. I take the seedy trains. I take the fewest supplies I can. I go into the slums. But what results is usually the opposite of suffering. Yes, there are some difficult moments, but I'm reminded of how free one can feel without that burdens and trappings of every day. I'm reminded of the simple pleasures: of listening, of connecting via a smile. I'm reminded of what things really matter."  I held onto those words ever since that exchange. It reminded me of one of my own practices. On a near daily basis I'll look in the mirror into my own eyes and say "I wish you hardship. May you find new strength today." It's a reminder that the hardship is necessary in order to continue this very delicate process of human refinement. I often think about how many brotherhoods and sisterhoods have a piece of polished gold, silver or marble as a prominent symbol in their organizations. These symbols are often designed to represent that at the end of life, one has hopefully chipped away at the debris -- the hardness, the vices, the negativity -- in order to become a kind and cultivated person. But this process only occurs as move through the…
Brenton Weyi
June 8, 2017
Uncategorized

On The Impermanence of All Things

450 million years ago, there were about 415 days in a year. 4 billion years ago, the moon was 10 times closer to the Earth than it is today, and a day was approximately 6 hours long. Scientists have observed these changes and based them upon the interaction — a celestial dance — between the Earth and the moon. (If you want to listen to the full Radiolab podcast on this topic, click here). This information is intriguing and compelling to think about just on its own. But it also leads to a more philosophical point about the nature of life itself. Nothing is Forever: Diamonds The Earth The Sun The Moon Time Life These are all things that we take for granted to one extent or another as “forever.” I’ve always found the human mind to be incredibly fascinating because so many of us live our lives with a subconscious belief that we will live forever. That is, until we are directly confronted with the reality of our own impending demise. I think that this default pattern of thinking is inherently linked to being a human being. We view death as “that thing” that happens to people we read about or hear about — and sometimes even people we know — but don’t truly believe that it will happen to us. And this is why so many people put of their dreams; this is why people don’t travel; this is why people don’t set goals; this is why people squander their most precious resource: time. We also assume that the celestial bodies on which we reside will always exist, and will always remain the same. However, even stars and planets have limited life cycles. Even if takes billions of years, stars get hotter and hotter and then eventually explode.…
Brenton Weyi
March 16, 2017