When science fails…

May 25, 2010 § 6 Comments

…you get really frustrated…

…and you know you should think through what went wrong…

…and then realize that troubleshooting is such a pain in the butt.

But you must start afresh, tweaking a little bit of this method and that…

…and if all fails again…

…you try yet again.

Mince, mince. Chop, chop some tissues.

Add a little buffer, a little reagent, spin little tubes in a G-force accelerator (no, it’s actually called a centrifuge).

The reason why I was in lab till 8:35pm. Hoping, crossing my fingers, that maybe this time, everything will work.

Science (or biology in my case) is just like cooking. You try, you fail. You try again, changing things up a little, and try and try and try…until you get the perfect recipe to carry out a certain experiment.

Such is science. And everything else you do in life. If something fails, do not be discouraged. Reflect with an open mind. Correct mistakes.

Ever noticed how great scientists and nobel prize winners all came up with the craziest ideas? That being said, do not be afraid to try out something bold, daring, and unthinkable ideas. Because you never know.


Four Pillars for a Balanced Life

May 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

Ever felt that you needed a little direction in your life, that despite the saying that you should “do what your heart desires,” sometimes you just need a little more guidance, a little push?

I do.

Here’s where the the Yogic four aims of life, or the purusharthas, come in. When I first came across this article”Aim High” by Hillari Dowdle from Yoga Journal (February 2010, Issue 226), I was immediately drawn in by the powerful questions that helped defined more of my views for my future. I was thoroughly confused about my goals in life…what to do after college? And the article really shed light on what was really important in my life, what I enjoyed, and not what others expected me to enjoy or do. It was like a splash of ice cold water on my face and right there, and I awoke from other people’s dream for me. Not my  own dream.

According to Rod Stryker, the Para yoga founder: “We all have a desire for a meaningful life. The purusharthas are “the means that can help us achieve it.” Purusha means, roughly, “soul,” while artha means “the ability” or “for the purpose of.”

So what are the four aims, the four strong pillars?

1) Dharma || Duty

Dharma defines what you believe your role in this society is. Your decisions and actions in life are determined by your dharma.

  • What is my role in the world?
  • What are my obligations? Which ones feel right?
  • When am I serving the highest good, what am I doing?
  • Am I on a path for the good?
  • How can I best serve the world around me?

2) Artha || Prosperity

Artha is the material luxuries you need to live with comfort and ease. It refers to things–your computer, your car, your business suit, your yoga mat–or knowledge that are essential for supporting your dharma. For example, if you are a writer, you will need pen, paper, and your creativity. If you are a yogi, you will need a mat, and uninterrupted time and space.

  • Knowing my dharma, what do I need to play my role in the world?
  • Where do I place value?
  • Do I have enough?
  • Are my things making me happy, or are they stealing my joy?
  • Am I afraid of having more? Am I afraid of not having more?
  • What does wealth mean to me besides money?

3) Kama || Pleasure

The desire for pleasure, or kama, is what drives you and everyone else to reach for a goal that pleases the selves. It exists to support the dharma if one knows how to take pleasure in moderation and for good deeds.

  • What am I passionate about?
  • What brings me pleasure?
  • Am I enjoying my life?
  • Am I happy?
  • What do I care about?
  • What do I most desire?
  • Am I hooked on anything?
  • Are my pleasures leading me toward or away from my life’s purpose?

4) Moksha || Freedom

Or liberation, for freeing yourself from things that restrain your thoughts and creativity, or from your dharma. Freedom is a bliss like you’ve gone back to pure form, to pure naivety, like looking into a baby’s eyes.

  • What am I doing to free myself from activities and perceptions that make me unhappy?
  • How can I not get caught in my emotions? What do I choose to bind myself to?
  • Do I feel trapped?
  • Can I be free from blaming myself and others?
  • How can I make my mind free?

Do you think the purusharthas are good guidelines for the pursuit in life?

Have you, at one point in your life, asked any of these questions listed above to yourself?

Have any of these questions changed your perspectives?

The world is wayyyy too complicated…

April 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

Here’s an article that I stumbled upon on my Google Reader today about what to do when faced with many of life’s difficult decisions.

This article is sooo relevant to what I’ve been thinking so much about lately: what in the heck am I going to do once I leave this humble and safe abode of college life? After I graduate, it’s me vs. the big, merciless world. For example, the left-brain vs right-brain situation that Leo talks about in this article. I think thus far I’ve been relying on my left brain too much. Sure, I loved biology when I was in high school, but now I’m not so sure. I am only doing research for research’s sake, to show my parents and my professors that I’m working towards a goal, to show my peers that I am a biophile as I’ve declared myself. Everyone expects me to do something great out of biology. Well, I am at Harvey Mudd, people expect great things from Mudd graduates. It just seems to be the “right path” for me to pursue the road of science.

So…doing the little exericise as mentioned in the article, I will try to figure out my life…maybe?

1. Anger: what makes me angry?

  • Um…as of this point I can’t really think of anything…
  • People leaving dirty dishes out?
  • People not cleaning after themselves?

2. Fear: what do I fear?

  • Not knowing what to do after college
  • Disappointing my parents, peers, professors, and myself
  • Doing poorly in my biology classes, which makes me feel very stupid compared to my peers
  • That my professors think I’m very stupid, and that I don’t belong at Mudd
  • Harm on my family

3. Freedom: what makes me experience joy and pleasure?

  • Doing yoga
  • Exercising
  • Cooking up and preparing healthy foods that are tasty
  • Baking for other people
  • Perusing recipes
  • Learning about how to eat healthfully to benefit the body, mind, and soul
  • Enjoying walks in the quietude or morning or dusk
  • Being with Dmitri 🙂

So here comes the million dollar question: what does this tell me about myself?

Well first off, I can see that my self-esteem regarding biology has declined. Is it because I’m in this challenging and competitive school? Or is it really my interest that is failing me? Secondly, I’m all over the yoga + healthy eating thing. Maybe I should be a yoga teacher + nutritionist?

Some food for thought, maybe.

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