I see myself as a rational person, which is the direct opposite of being superstitious. However, as a student of Taoism, it is silly to deny something at its face value, so I have figured out two ways that superstitions can help in my life.
Fortune telling A common form of superstition is fortune-telling. However, by reading the book I Ching, an ancient Chinese book often used by traditional fortune tellers, I came to realise that fortune-telling can be useful at times.
Being an extremely (>3 s.d.) future-focused person, I have been conditioned to think that unpleasant things can be good for my future, medications, running the last lap etc. There is of course a bias here. Unpleasant things are much more reflection-provoking than pleasant things. I am more inclined to ask myself “why am I going through all these” when things are unpleasant.
Unpleasant things also provoke learning. I learn much better (or so I think) when I have a question that I want to seek an answer to.
The learning of philosophy is to see things as they are. To possess no internal judgement over external things. In Buddhism, there is a saying “无明是苦”, which can be translated to “suffering comes from the lack of clarity”. Incidentally, 明, or clarity, is part of my Chinese name, so I am constantly reminded that things can be a bit clearer than they are.
Learning philosphy has no destination. One question that has bothered me for a while is why we are constantly searching answers for the same questions.
I like good films, but I do not always desire to watch them. I enjoy flowers blossoming in the botanic garden, but I do not always desire to bring them back home and keep them for myself.
Liking something or someone means there is concordance with your value. It is natural. There is no need to suppress it. All we have to do is to acknowledge its existence and also acknowledge that this idea, like any other, is flowing down our thought stream, and we should not mistake it as ourselves.
Cutting all my hair away has become a regular practice during the lockdown.
The practical reasons include hygiene and convenience. Long hair takes a long time to groom. The whole process of delicate grooming as the first thing in the morning takes away too much willpower and decision-making capacity that could have been better spent elsewhere.
There are also schools of philosophy that I am constantly reminded of by this new haircut.
Nothing is unhealthy when exercised at a moderate amount. Whether or not certain activities can be considered as excessive depends on how well our values align with the underlying motives of the activity. Shopping, though a harmless activity in itself, can be intrinsically outward-seeking and mind-manipulating if we do not approach it with an understanding of its repercussions.
For one, shopping encourages us to own possessions so that we can please other people.
Recently, a new identity has been added to my list – a scam victim. The price I had to pay for this new identity is the funding that I had for the whole summer. For the past few days, I have been trying to draw wisdom from this experience in life, and here is the first post on the many thoughts that I had.
If we divide everything in life into internal and external categories, money probably belongs to the external one for most people.