Wednesday, July 07, 2004

The joy of running and "So, tell me about yourself."

I went for a run today. Now, this is of more significance than you might originally think. Running and I have kind of been on the outs lately. After 7 seasons of competitive running, it was beginning to get old. I realized that I didn't like running as much as I had once liked running, and I decided that running and I needed to take a break. A separation. But, as they say, sometimes a separation can be the best thing that ever happens to a relationship. Today I realized that I missed running. So I went for a half an hour jaunt through hilly NW Portland. The weather was great...not too hot, but sunny enough for me to take my shirt of and show off how ripped out of my gourd I am (not). Once I hit my stride I suddenly remembered why I like to run. Running by one's self is like driving solo (which I reflected on in my last post). Nobody/Nothing else can dictate your thoughts. You're alone with yourself and your thoughts, while at the same time accomplishing something, defeating something. Not only are you overcoming the boundaries of space, but you also can defeat your physical body at times pleading with you to "Stop!" Mind over matter. What is more (at least for me), the constant pressure of the physical strain somehow allows me to simplify my some of my thoughts that are too chaotic, and I can better sort them out. Again, an example of how physical health contributes so much to mental health. Every time I realize that it also becomes clearer to me how much I could positively affect the lives of others as a physician. Better crack down on my MCAT studying...

So, in conclusion (of the intro): Don't write off running just because of the general (mis)conception that "running sucks." Give it a try, especially if you could use a quick mental health boost.

So here are some of the thoughts that have been zipping around in my head recently:

The most amazing thing about the city is the large variety of people I see, even if its only in passing, each day, on the bus, at work, and just walking around downtown. I am amazed by my own individuality, which I have only begun to realize in the last few years, and this amazement makes me immensely curious about the individualities of others. I know that there is so much to me, so much to my everyday thoughts and consciousness, that 99.99% of people in the world will ever know about. Of course, there are probably some things that NO ONE will ever know about, but there is a lot about me that even casual acquaintances know. But I see people every day that I will never see again in my life. I will never know anything about them. Each person has a unique story, just the same as I do. I want to know their stories. Maybe one of those people has something within them that, if communicated to me, would change my life for the better. I'll never know, for the most part. Other people have always been my greatest resource, in terms of providing me with new ways to think, and new things to think about. I just want to tap everyone's mind, and share with them mine. Sometimes people meet their "soulmates" by some random/accidental meeting. I think about that a lot.

Most people would think I was weird if I just walked up to them and said, "So, tell me about yourself." Hell, I'd be alarmed if someone did that to me. I think that sucks. Why are we so possessive of ourselves? Is it society? Human nature? Both? I'm guilty of it too, like I said. But, if I think about it, I realize that in sharing something of myself, its not like I'm going to lose what I just shared. In fact, it might become even more a part of myself, as I see the appreciation (or lack thereof) that another has for it. This is why I like blogging. Writing posts like this one gives me a chance to share something that is within me with a few people who happen to visit my blog. Reading other blogs gives me a glimpse into the minds of other people, giving me new perspectives, new tools with which to build my perception of the world.

You may have noticed that I'm obsessed with the notion of perception, and that the world is only (and only can be) what we perceive it to be. Thus, I believe you can modify your perception by gaining perspective. A perspective is different way of perceiving, and this can only come from another person's communication of their perspective, whether it through the use of spoken language, written language, touch, music, or any other form of communication that I haven't mentioned. By the way, if have any other forms of communication you would like to remind me of, post a comment. I'm really interested in communication at the moment. Communication is key. That is, unless you're completely satisfied with all of your personal archetypes.

Speaking of communication through music, I realized last night, after a conversation with the author of The Success Blog, that I am almost completely a lyric person. By the way, I started the conversation, and I wouldn't want to think The Success Blog is taking all the credit for the insight in one of his most recent posts. The post, which you may have read, is entitled Two Types of People. Now, I can use this to add to my point in the last paragraph. There are NOT two types of people, in my opinion. Its just that one group fails to recognize or decides not to recognize the value of either the lyrics or the music, depending which element that they prefer to direct their focus. Its an archetype thing again. I think one could train himself/herself to focus more on, for example, the lyrics, just as much as he or she focuses on the music. He or she has the ability to learn to think differently about the music to which they listen. Thus, I have challenged myself, in my music listening, to concentrate more than I have before on the actual music. I gained a new perspective, a new way to think, last night from SLS, and I am thankful for it. He helped me to realize that music itself can be a form of communication, however open-ended. Intrinsic in its open-endedness is its ability to say things that are perhaps more profound than any lyric ever could.

My fascination with perception stems at least partly from the fact that I am also fascinated with neuroscience, especially right now, as I am working in a behavioral neuroscience lab. My lab studies the neurobiological substrates that lead to drug addiction, which is interesting all in its own, but I'm not going to write about that in this post, maybe later. I just want to share with you my fascination of neuroscience. I think everybody should at least have an idea of how their brain is working to produce what is known as consciousness and...perception. And, wrap your head around this: The study of neuroscience is simply using our brains to study our brains.

So it goes.


At July 7, 2004 at 10:50 PM, Blogger scribbs said...

I disagree, about the two kinds of people that you say are simply people who "fail to recognize or decide not to recognize the value of either the lyrics or the music". I can't speak for you, but as for me, I do recognize the value of lyrics (which are, for me, not my thing). My point, is that while I recognize the value of lyrics when I actually hear them and internalize them, this is not something that I initially and instinctively do. I cannot change that, because it isn't concious. I place no greater "value" on music than on lyrics; rather, I simply do not naturally "hear" the words of a song. It just doesn't register. Here is an interesting idea you might like to ponder. I am not concious of the lyrics of a song while listening, and perhaps, unless you try, you are not "concious" of the musical happenings of a song, but it is clear that a song's sound will have an effect on you subconciously even if you aren't fully aware of it. It provides feeling, emotion, whether you acknowledge that or not. Here is the question, if, for you, lyrics operate on a concious level, and music on a subconcious, is it possible that for me, this is simply reversed? I know I conciously concentrate on the sound of a song, but could the words be simultaneously affecting me subconciously? Can words operate in such a way? I would propose that they can, and do. Eh?


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