Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hei-wa: still souls

Math Man and I were on a walk yesterday, and happened across an older neighbor, a regular reader of my column in the Standard. She had lots of questions for me, and one for Math Man. "How does she do all that writing?" Math Man: "She stays up late and she is very disciplined."

It's been a very disciplined month, as I finished out the semester and juggled a number of writing deadlines (about 7000 words sent out to three different editors, in eight different pieces, ranging in length from 250 words to just over 3000 words). I've missed writing in this space, with its lack of constraints regard topic, length, format or audience, but have missed more being able to read freely. Still, I've managed to stay on a relatively even keel, partly because, despite Math Man's comment, I've given up giving up sleep.

Patient Spiritual Director has been encouraging some discernment along these lines for some time, and so I've been experimenting with finding "the mean" in my sleep. I think I've found the sweet spot for now, but having done so, I've lost nearly an entire working day from my week. (You can do the math, but I'll save you the effort - an extra 1.5 hours of sleep a night times seven is...10.5 hours.)

One reason I've been juggling deadlines is because I'm off tomorrow on a 2 week trip to Japan. I'm teaching a course next fall on silent spaces in the context of Western contemplative traditions. It's one of a triad of courses looking at contemplative traditions: Eastern, Western and science. We are traveling with the students next fall, to Japan, to Wernersville, to a Benedictine community. This trip is to scope out some of the places and people we want to see when we return with the class. I'm blogging the course here, but will be chronicling travels as well as some of my reading on this blog, too.

What am I reading on the plane? Besides C.S. Lewis' Weight of Glory?

  • Sacred Koyasan: A Pilgrimage to the Mountain Temple of Saint Kobo Daishi and the Great SunBuddha, Philip L. Nicoloff, 2007.
  • Neural correlates of a mystical experience in Carmelite nuns. Mario Beauregard & Vincent Paquette, Neuroscience Letters 405 (2006) 186–190
And lest you think I'm all that high-minded, I've uploaded a season of Enterprise onto my iPad.

The kanji illustrating this post means "peace," and the two characters can be roughly translated as "still soul" - an layer of meaning I enjoyed discovering.

I've left some posts to appear while I'm gone, and posting on the road is likely to be erratic, I don't expect to have connectivity everywhere I go.


  1. tis a shame sleep is so helpful to our body and soul. enjoy your travels.

  2. I love what your friend Stratoz said about sleep... Good travels to you.