Kyoto – Kinkaku-ji & Chion-in Temples

So with my revised blogging schedule, I’ve decided to skip ahead a few days on my Japan trip recount. These, I think, I’ll most likely return to as Thursday Doors posts, or some other random post as I think of them. Today I’d like to share one of my most memorable days from the holiday: Tuesday February 14th, which KF and I spent in Kyoto.

Having travelled there by bullet train the day before, this would be our first full day in Kyoto. Prior to the trip, I did do a little bit of research about places to visit in and around the city, but on the day we arrived, we visited the tourist information centre (helpfully located near the main train station), and a very helpful guide/assistant (who also spoke really good English) gave us a few pointers about getting around town. We left with a map of the bus routes, bus passes, and a better idea of what we’d be doing the next day.  Continue reading

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meditations – removing judgement

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine was giving me a lift home from work. On the way, she kept complaining that she was so hungry and really wanted to eat. Our plan, however, had been to go for a run, or at least do some exercise, and I generally don’t eat right before exercise (it’s just not a good idea), so I was basically trying to get her to stop complaining and get some control over her appetite.

I’d written previously (some time ago now) about the virtues of being hungry, and I pretty much have the same views on it now, so that was what I was telling her that night.  Continue reading

meditations – history repeats

There are a lot of recurring themes and messages in Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, and one that I’ve found myself thinking about quite a lot recently is his assertion that history is constantly repeating itself, and hence no problem is ever completely new.

What I find interesting about this is that I actually discounted this assertion when I first came across his remarks about it in the book. I mean, this book was written almost 2000 years ago, and a lot has changed since then, right? Continue reading

meditations – superfluity

Of all the lessons, revelations, advice and guiding principles that I’ve gotten from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations there’s probably one that’s been most influential. Well, I actually hesitate to say that because I don’t always follow it, and because I’ve taken so much from reading the book that it’s really hard to pinpoint which one singular passage I think about the most; but if I had to choose one, this would be it:

Most of what we say and do is unnecessary: remove the superfluity, and you will have more time and less bother. … And the removal of the unnecessary should apply not only to actions but to thoughts also: then no redundant actions either will follow.
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 4, Chapter 24

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meditations – transience

This year, I have read some very interesting, and very “different” books. I read New Earth which is sort of about spirituality and focuses a lot on focusing on the present moment; I read Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World which was a very bizarre story in which death – particularly the imminence of death – featured quite prominently; I read A Tale for the Time Being which dealt with suicide a lot; and, not too long ago, I finished reading Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations which is a philosophical text that addresses, among many things, the idea of transience.

All these books – which, let it be noted, I did not intentionally choose to read in that order, or consciously plan to read them all this year, but rather that it so happened that I came across them or otherwise felt compelled to pick them up when I did – all these books have got me thinking, subconsciously and consciously, from time to time, about how everything is transient and ephemeral and impermanent and all those beautiful words that mean more or less the same thing.

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the solace of showers

It’s such a shame that water is such a precious and limited resource.

Coming home from a long day at work, or after any emotionally taxing day, there’s nothing better than a nice long shower – hot in winter, and ice cold in summer.

For me, I don’t think it’s as much about the feel of the water on my skin as it is about the complete immersion in the sound. Sure, the cooling/warming feeling (as the season requires) is soothing, and certainly helps to ease the tension from my body, but what I’ve come to realise is that the sound – the noise – is paramount.

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