Describing myself

I have a tough time describing what I do if I overthink it. It might be simplest to call myself an engineer and be done with it.

But the inner voice within me identifies myself as a scientist, meditator and doer. I’ll spend some time justifying these labels. There is probably some value in understanding a different view of what might superficially appear to be pretty mundane.

Scientist

As a high school student, I wanted to do theoretical physics and attempt to answer the fundamental questions of nature. Following in the footsteps of giants like Einstein seemed appealing. While my subsequent decisions have led me far from that course for various reasons, the role of a scientist, at least a refined characterization of it, continues to beckon to me.

The following defining traits of a scientist are important to me in almost all of my efforts.

  1. Not fooling myself
  2. Asking good questions
  3. Looking for fundamental explanations

Meditator

Meditation has become a critical part of my life much like breathing. As I define it, meditation is fundamentally a reflection on one’s thoughts without identifying with them. Based on this definition, it is possible for you to be a meditator without realizing it.

The different schools of meditation, such as Dzogchen or Vipassana, embrace different approaches that produce somewhat different experiences. However, it is helpful to generalize the meaning of meditation with the following objectives in mind.

  1. Encompass the different schools of meditation
  2. Integrate the practice with what we know of the brain.

There is much I have to say about meditation in the future. Suffice it to say there is no other tool humans have to redefine what makes them happy or sad independent of external surroundings.

Doer

Using the label “Doer” calls for an explanation of what I mean by doing and action. It does seem like the dictum to have a bias for action gets abused a lot. A lot of thoughtless action uses that as a defense.

So while I do not rush blindly to action, I have goals in my life that are not small and necessitate a lot of action on my part. The balance one always has to work hard at is the right level of analysis before action. As with many complex decisions, the balance is highly situational.

Indeed, in a good number of scenarios, the analysis is part of the action. It is only when the analysis paralyzes you that there is cause for concern. Constraints imposed internally or externally, including those on time, can be a useful forcing function to overcome inertia. Often though, those constraints themselves should be reevaluated creatively.

Not a static label

Finally, it is worth drawing your attention to the fact that I do not for a moment consider these labels to be static. They represent a conscious attempt on my part to bring the mindsets represented by each of them to bear on my day to day living. I am getting better at it everyday.