Friday Sabbatical

Whatever you’re doing this Friday, I invite you to pause. Just for a second. Or maybe for four days. Get outside and lay in the grass. Listen to the birds, the wind, the cars on the street. Smell the goddamn roses. Now is the time.

Here are five things that stuck with me this week:

  1. I finished Altered Traits: Science Reveals how Meditation Changes your Mind, Brain & Body this week. I’m a longtime meditator and can vouch for the subjective benefits of contemplation (which I think of as Concentration, Equanimity & Insight), but data does something profound to our Western brain’s willingness to accept new information. Good read if you’re interested in the objective science behind the subjective benefits (particularly interesting was the fact that many elite meditators spend their entire lives, both awake and asleep, awash in Gamma brain waves, whereas the normal human brain only experiences Gamma waves the moment it is hit with inspiration).
  2. If you’re looking for another reason to distaste Vladimir Putin, or maybe to like him, depending on your NFL team allegiances, I recommend reading this. I cracked up hearing Robert Kraft’s story about how Putin stole his Super Bowl ring. It somehow fits my view of Putin, who I know not at all but yet about whom I have opinions.
  3. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the kind of augmented reality we each live in, as well as both the exquisite usefulness of that adaptive talent, and it’s cost. Seems to me there’s a time and place for our optimized interpretation or projection of reality, as well as a time and place to slow down and experience the real thing. The ideal would be to have psychological flexibility sufficient to toggle at will. The Reboot podcast created a graphic detailing the Ladder of Inference, which is effectively a map of what that toggling looks like in practice, and in what scenarios it would be done. Super interesting.
  4. The NBA is, knock on wood, going to finish their 2019-2020 season! Holy hell I haven’t been so excited in some time. Empty gyms, who cares! We have basketball! Coming to an Orlando near you in June/July. And, in the meantime, Apple just greenlit a “Last Dance-esque series about athletic greatness, featuring Lebron, Brady and more. We’re figuring out how sports work in the After, people.
  5. Has anyone used Bevy? I read about their recent financing round primarily because it was a bit backward that an events company raised $15m on the heels of Covid, but in reading into their community management / video software I was pretty intrigued. Might be useful for meditation groups.

And with the weather heating up, here’s a quote for the road:

Strawberries are too delicate to be picked by machine. The perfect ripe ones bruise at even too heavy a human touch…every strawberry you have ever eaten—every piece of fruit—has been picked by callused human hands. Every piece of toast with jelly represents someone’s knees, someone’s aching back and hips, someone with a bandana on her wrist to wipe away the sweat.

— Alison Luterman

As always, please let me know what you think in the comments, or if you stumble upon something excellent I should be aware of let me know that as well.

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