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Friday, April 19, 2013

lunch break @ the hiding place

Largely inspired by reading Shobogenzo, on March 15th, 2013, I took up a particular self-discipline for my lunch breaks at work:

April 2013

That is, sitting meditation, or Zazen (坐 "Za", meaning seat or sitting, and 禅 "Zen" meaning meditation). More specifically, walking up ten flights of stairs to a secluded area near the roof of the building I work in, then doing a Hatha Yoga set, then sitting in Full Lotus (getting there, at least) the way Dogen says to in Fukanzazengi.

At first, this was much more of an athletic endeavor than a meditative one, since my legs aren't used to this. It's been a little over a month now doing this about twice a day for 20 minutes each (once during lunch break, during weekdays, and once in the evening at home), and while it is still a challenge, I find myself more able to let go into the meditative state, rather than simply enduring pain the whole time. Also, while I'm generally adhering to the eyes-open hands-like-so thing specifically learned and taught by Dogen, obviously there are other different and older approaches from a little further west which have different but similar effects, to which I switch when it seems right to do so (i.e. hands on the knees palms upward thumbs-and-index-fingers making a circle (and other mudras) and with eyes closed and looking slightly upward toward the third eye.)

I learned the hard way (pun retroactively intended) that it's a good idea to have a zafu (座 again meaning seat, and 蒲 meaning reedmace, cattail, or typha, which is what they used to stuff them with - also meaning "cushion").

Anyhow, just wanted to share with anyone who might be inspired to some similar practice, and wanted to record it here for anyone who might be interested after I shuffle off my Shakespearean cliché. ;)

Post-Script: If anyone would like to take up a similar practice, I recommend starting here:

On July 12th 2013, I also instituted a Morning Routine, the record of which goes nicely with that of this lunchtime routine.


Thursday November 15th 2013

Post-Post-Post-Script: Just a brief update: On January 2nd, 2014, I stopped using the zafu. I brought it home to use during the Tantric Meditation portion of my Morning Routine. Also, Since I ride my bicycle to and from work every day, I stopped running up the stairs before my lunchtime Yoga. I just go straight up from the 8th to the 10th floor and begin.

Post Script: It has been just over a year since I started that practice. In July, I began practicing Yoga in the mornings, in October I began bicycling to work and back, and in January I began training to become a certified Yoga Instructor - and I graduate on April 14th, 2014. :)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

DNA-Alphabet memorization tool

To get started, you'll need a 4-sided die and an index card. Simply copy the information on the above index card onto your index card.

Just roll a 4-sided die three times, and each time you roll, say aloud the name of the Nucleic Acid. If you roll a "1", say "Adanine". If you roll a "2", say "Uracil". If you roll a "3", say "Guanine". If you roll a "4", say "Cytosine".

After you have rolled it three times, find the particular permutation (the Nucleic Acid sequence which you spoke aloud) on the index card. Say the letter and the Amino Acid aloud, or say the name of the Aminio Acid aloud, while writing the Amino Acid's corresponding letter on a fresh piece of paper.

Do this at least a few times per day until you no longer need the index card.

Here are some other things you can try: rather than rolling one 4-sided die three times, you can get 3 4-sided dice of 3 different colors, and roll them at the same time. For example, a red one might indicate the first Nucleic Acid, a yellow one the second, and a blue one the third. Also, you can start the "game" by rolling until you get one of the sequences for Methionine, then write down the Amino-letter sequence you get thereafter until you get a STOP, then google the Protein-word within and see what you got. If nothing yet sequenced, try breaking it down to smaller words. Its like Geomancy or the I Ching, but better.

Once you've played it for a while, with the "up down left right" (but "up down right left" if on the body) you'll notice that you already have these DNA Alphabet sigils memorized: The DNA Alphabet

11-19-12 Post Script: Here is a very clean, clear, and handy key for this game. Just right-click to download it:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

DNA-Word for the day: Indolethylamine N-Methyltransferase

The word is written from top to bottom to the left side of this post. if you're having trouble reading it, but you'd like to be able to read it, go to The DNA Alphabet and make flashcards and drill them until you can read it.

Indolethylamine N-Methyltransferase (AKA "Amine N-methyltransferase" AKA "Aromatic alkylamine N-methyltransferase" AKA "Arylamine N-methyltransferase" AKA "Indolamine N-methyltransferase" AKA "Indolethylamine N-methyltransferase" AKA "INMT" ) is a 262 Letter DNA-word. In other words, it is a Protein molecule made up of 262 Amino Acids.

Indolethylamine N-methyltransferase (INMT) catalyzes the N-methylation of Tryptamine and structurally related compounds during normal metabolism.

In the case of the N-methylation of Tryptamine, when this occurs twice on a single Tryptamine molecule, the resulting compound is Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which is also found in several plants and other mammals. The natural function of its widespread presence remains undetermined.

The gene encoding Indolethylamine N-Methyltransferase is located on chromosome 7 in humans (7p15.2-p15.3).

If you were to read this DNA-word using the DNA-Alphabet pronunciation guide it might end up sounding like this (note: in the below, "aye" means like saying the letter A, not like "aye aye captain"):

"em-kay-goj-fet-goj-dee-why-que-kay-haf-lep-de-why-lat-why-why-sef-deg-ess-pes-pee-aye-eem-lekay-fen-lee-see-la-ha-kay-tef-jep-gel-que-gedet-el-eye-d'eye-jes-gep-tie-why-que-val-aye-aye-see-des-fe-que-d'eye-tel-sed-fet-dran-r'eye-eye-lie-kay-wel-kay-kay-ee-peg-ah-why-dao-tapay-vekay-fay-cee-ee-elee-gen-sag-raw-ee-ee-kay-ee-ee-kay-lar-aye-aye-vek-ra-val-kay-see-day-vah-hel-gen-pal-aye-pay-vel-palay-dee-see-vel-tel-lay-mee-see-aye-see-see-sel-day-why-ray-ay-lasee-nel-aye-ess-lel-kay-peg-gahal-vay-tet-vet-lar-lep-ess-why-mev-gekay-ree-fes-see-vay-lee-kay-ee-ee-vee-que-aye-val-day-gaf-die-ee-que-lal-has-peque-ess-why-ess-va-ten-aye-aye-nen-jev-see-fie-vay-rakay-kay-pegep"     •     (626) 367-9254
P.O. Box 50294    •    Los Angeles, CA    •    90050