Learn Something New Every Day

The Mystery Of Talking With Others

Years ago in a university in Pennsylvania, I suddenly discovered the delight of group projects, for which people bounce ideas around and try to get things done with joint efforts. Why hadn’t it happened to me before that point? I don’t know. Since then, I’ve often experienced of learning things and coming up with ideas just by talking with people.

Actually I am quite an introvert, not the outgoing type at all. I know some friends of mine who don’t feel comfortable staying alone just for an hour. Actually it’s a common thing in the Asian immigrant community. I think it is because when we grew up, we were surrounded by others all the time. Even at night, the sound of others were always there. It takes a person years to get used to the soundless night in New Jersey. I digress.

Now coming back to the mystery of talking with others. Last week, I thought I was never going to come up with an idea to solve a problem. The person who requested to get the problem solved was quite inflexible about how things should be done. It was impossible to fit in the narrow spectrum he agreed with. For several days, I thought it was a goner, but then I talked with somebody. And during the conversation, an idea suddenly descended on me–I could change the solution a little bit to see if the stubborn person could feel OK with it. So I did and everybody was happy.

There’s magic in talking with others.

How To Make Things Less Boring

I don’t want to admit this, but still I have to say our life, our love, our work, or our writing is more about making things less boring than making things more exciting. Just think about the chores we have to do every day, routines we have to repeat, exercise rituals we have to go through, duties we have to perform. They are all very boring. And we have to be creative in handling the boredom.

“Vera says she is never bored by Niccolo and he is never bored by her because they never tell the same stories twice….if she ever did tell a story twice, she said, she would change it around a little so that Niccolo would still find it interesting.”

This is from “Heartburn”, in which the author describes her therapist Vera, who has a perfect relationship with her husband after twenty years, while other relationships are suffering from varied degrees of dysfunction. For example, the author herself, who feels quite alienated at her own home, imagines plane crashes or some other disasters to put an end to her relationship so that she doesn’t have to end it herself.

I think telling a story with a little bit of change each time is a great idea. This applies to doing things too. Each time, just do it a little differently. Now let me think what change I can make to the process of doing laundry…

A Late Night Epiphany

Last night, I watched a program on Buddhism. It’s very relaxing. Such a beautiful monastery, with a row of praying wheels and huge statues. There’s also a description of the religious painting, Thangka, for which minerals (including gold) are mixed with pigments to create vivid and long lasting colors.

Suddenly an epiphany descends on me–those tales of Buddha are so simple, beautiful, and profound. They can be very suitable for adult language learners, who don’t want to get stuck in mundane everyday story like, “We went out for lunch yesterday. We ordered pasta and hamburgers. We were happy.” A children’s tale is equally boring to adult learners. Sorry, beloved children, please forgive me for saying so. Adults have to learn a language differently. Simple language with profound meaning. This is the kind of story that can keep an adult interested. And stories of Buddha are like that.

24 thoughts on “Learn Something New Every Day

  1. Loved your late night epiphany! I have been watching this monk on YouTube called Nick Keomahavong, and he’s been showcasing the virtues of a simple life too. So I can totally see how you can feel relaxed watching the programme too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A great post, full of wisdom for all of us! I really liked this thought…. I have to say our life, our love, our work, or our writing is more about making things less boring than making things more exciting.
    Dwight

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dwight, thank you for your visit and thank you for commenting. Yes, that is what I feel. Repetition is so necessary for our life and work, but it can be so boring… Wish we have solutions to these unsolvable problems of life.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I really enjoy Buddhist stories and I was even able to talk to a monk at a temple near where I live a while back who told me some fascinating stories about Buddha/Buddhism. I always try to visit Buddhist temples when I travel since they’re so calming and of course for religious reasons.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, me too. Buddhism gives people such a relaxing feeling. I wish the Buddhist temple is closer to where I live, but I have to drive at least three hours to go to upstate New York. I dream of visiting India (Lumbini specifically where Buddha was born), Nepal, Thailand.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. My mum who is Indian has visited the place where Buddha is born and I also really want to go there someday if I ever get the chance. The Buddhist temple near me is only about an hour away so it’s not too bad and I’m happy about that.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Wow, your mom is so lucky. So many people want to go there but end up not going. There was a legendary story that a villager traveled to Buddha’s place and came back. Everybody lined up to get his blessing as if he’s the embodiment of Buddha.

          Liked by 2 people

    1. Hahaha. What a nice question. I am an English language learner who needs help here. I am a non-native speaker and have been learning English forever. So yes, I am writing things as if I am still in the process of learning the language. What a perceptive observation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have noticed that you write with an accent. (‘Accent’ is not the right word, but it is the closest one I can think of) But you write better in English than the majority of native English speakers. I can tell that you have worked very hard to learn this crazy language.
        One of the things that I think is great about your writing is how it blends both your native culture and the one I grew up in. I feel like I learn things from a different perspective when I read your stories.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Thank you. I will take that as a big compliment. My accent is my style. LOL. I have to say I was for many years not interested in this crazy language until one day I reread a book and discovered its beauty. Hahaha. Thank you for pointing that out. I try to blend the life experience of people, but I still have to struggle to make real life story readable or entertaining. Thank you for understanding. I enjoy your comment.

          Liked by 2 people

  4. A lovely post. It made me think you might like the stories of another blogger I follow, whose site goes by the name Trishikh. His stories are truly wonderful, and have a Buddhist sort of appeal to me, with both the simplicity and complexity I associate with Buddhism. He follows my blog, so you might get to his site that way if you’re interested.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hahaha. Thank you for the comment. I checked him out and I’ve already been following his weekend stories. Yes, they really have a tinge of profundity there. Thank you. I guess we share the same enthusiasm here.

      Like

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