September 13, 2017 :: PAUL SHARPE
SOME INSIGHTS FROM THIS SESSION:
- Does excellent practice guarantee the "taste of purification”?
- Curiosity is inspiring. Let resistance prompt curiosity.
- The numbers game.
After a 20-year career in software development, Paul re-evaluated his life, and decided to follow a long time curiosity: the mind. He began studying psychology and, in parallel, began meditating. Now he’s a year into a PhD program in psychology researching non-clinical
benefits of meditation.
Once I got into meditation, I took the fire hose and just injected it into my mind, consuming as much information as I possibly could. But then, perhaps because of my software background, I realized what I really wanted was something systematic. I was definitely looking for a structured way to benefit from meditation.
It was clear when I stumbled on Shinzen’s approach that it was the most structured system that exists. Once you get his meanings of “unified,” you can take any approach you’re looking at, and know that it’s covered somewhere within Shinzen’s underlying categories. So you’ve always got “a way into” whatever modality you’re considering. It was a bit of a slog getting to this point, but I’ve managed to bring meditation and my psychology studies together.
Rather than identifying specific benefits he’s experienced from meditation, Paul sees it as more of a paradigm shift.
It’s really been a Copernican shift in the way that I experience reality, so much so that, in some ways, I’ve lost track of all of the benefits. It’s a completely different way of experiencing the world.
To have a handle on something very practical that, at the very least, changes the way you experience the world and, at the very best, makes you a little happier, it seems promising, right? It seems worth taking a bit of time to see if it works.
He shared how his life practice is evolving to feel very spontaneous.
It’s as if the Life Practice Program “is doing me,” because I’ve bought into it now. Even though I don’t sit down at the start of the day and run ASIA [Analyze, Strategize, Intention, Inspire, Assess], what does happen is “meditation bells” go off during the day. There’s the cue of sitting down in my car, and the bell goes off: Here’s 20 minutes of meditation time. The bell’s rung; forget everything else, this is a sit. The bell also goes off when I stand up from my chair and I walk away from the laptop. Oh, there’s the bell; it’s a microhit.
He reports a similar flexibility and confidence around selecting techniques to apply throughout the day based on ION – Interest, Opportunity, Necessity.
I don’t have a favorite technique; I have techniques that I know fit certain situations. Driving is always Focus Out with a See Out emphasis. I know the grid reasonably well now, and I know how the I, the O, and the N can work for me now.
Though Paul’s not sure what he’ll do after the PhD, he’s in for the long haul. Last year he completed two pilot studies which are informing the experiments he will run this year.
I often spend days struggling with data, but I know that means I’m doing the research process (or it's doing me!). I can’t know what’s going to come next in such a fast moving field, and uncertain times. I’m hoping that I get to the end of the programme, and that an opportunity will present itself that offers some continuity with the topic area.
WHEN PAUL WAS 20, HE AND FOUR FRIENDS BOUGHT A CAR WITH NO AIR CONDITIONING IN PENNSYLVANIA IN MID SUMMER, PILED IN AND DROVE ACROSS THE USA. THEY HAD TO LEAVE THE CAR BY THE ROADSIDE IN CALIFORNIA WHEN THE SUSPENSION GAVE WAY FOR THE SECOND TIME.
HE FIRST USED A WEB BROWSER AND WEB SERVER IN 1993 (COMPILED FROM SOURCE, NATURALLY).
WHEN PAUL WORKED FOR A RECORD COMPANY IN LONDON, HE HELPED STEVE ALBINI ACCESS HIS EMAIL WITHOUT KNOWING WHO HE WAS. OF RIGHT NOW.