Some Reflections

Today is the beginning of the second half of 2012. Some reflections are due. Writing things down serves as a good reminder, and a hedge against inertia and slacking.

1. When it’s hard to get up in the morning, or exhausted at night, I ask two questions to myself. Do I still have a healthy body? Do I still have a healthy mind? If the answers to both questions are “Yes,” then there is nothing to fear or to worry about. In fact, the answers have always been “Yes.” This is the greatest fortune in life, the most generous gift. I dare not to ask for anything more.

2. We spend so much time with eyes fixed on the future, thus lose sight of the moment. It’s like a donkey chasing after the carrot hanging in front of its eyes. Let each moment be a full cycle, not dependent on future payback. Let no moment pass without savoring the richness of life.

3. What we do in our free time defines who we are. Or, the difference between people is most evident in how they use their free time. Working a real job now, free time suddenly becomes very limited. I try to carve out enough free time everyday, for reading and reflection. The job, no matter how interesting, can be exhausting and numbing. When we return home in the evening, the brain wants to find something mindless, but the mind should not allow this to happen. Reading puts me back in touch with humanity, which reminds me of the meaning of all work. Reflection makes sure that we are aware.

4. I can’t do a career where “work is work and life is life.” Life is too precious to waste. I must find a path where the work is my life, and the life is happily devoted to the work.

5. What determines the achievement of a person is not intelligence, but the heart. How big is your heart? What is the shape of your heart?

6. When I first came to the US, one of my strongest drives is to make China rich and powerful --- the 21st century superpower. This motivation comes from personal ego, unexamined nationalism, and the defensiveness in face of America’s negative coverage and views of China. But over the past three years, a few things have happened. First, I realized that I am a human being before I am Chinese. If I am able to love China, then I should also be able to love any culture and people in the world. Second, I realize that the western criticisms of China are sometimes valid and helpful. Third, I realized that China’s economic growth comes at a huge cost to its own people, and has created enormous anxiety (or even suffering in some cases) in many parts of the world. If China doesn’t alter its course, then this rising superpower is no good for itself or the rest of the world.

What has not changed is my love for traditional Chinese culture, and the commitment and connection to the wellbeing of the people. But this love and care have undergone an agonizing and crucial transformation while being in USA. I am grateful.

OK, enough for now. It sure feels good to squeeze out the muddiness in the head and write them down on pages. More mental space for new experiences!


Shilin said...

I find the second one very true. So many Chinese students simply jump into A because they think it leads them to B, which is the gateway to C. Yet hardly can they elaborate what exactly are they looking after this long long path.

How have you been by the way? It's been forever since our last conversation. I always find it inspiring listening to you.

Good luck.


bei gao said...

I agree with Shilin. point 2 is also what i feel these days.
And I'm kind of curious about what kind of the agonizing and crucial transformation you went through. I mean I totally agree with your previous three points. we should be rationally patriotic.