Monday, October 31, 2011

A guru's Guru

To a certain degree, I’ve been filtering in various articles, TV and radio episodes covering the life and legacy of Steve Jobs. And by far, this article - “What Kind of Buddhist was Steve Jobs, Really?” -  has been the most interesting.

 How do you define a person? I agree that in life and death, look at what a person does, what they create and produce, first and foremost, rather than just what they say. But what lies behind that is a person’s belief system, and it is amazing how in most of the coverage of Steve Jobs, the fact that he was a devout Buddhist rarely takes center stage. It’s telling, but not surprising, that the message is filtered through Western media and comes out significantly watered down. Even Job’s official biographer demonstrates these biases, as this article points out. It’s too bad, because I want to know more about this – what does a man who’s critical of EVERYTHING and scrutinizes every last detail – what is it about Buddhism that passed the test?

“Why would a former phone phreak who perseverated over the design of motherboards be interested in doing that? Using the mind to watch the mind, and ultimately to change how the mind works, is known in cognitive psychology as metacognition. Beneath the poetic cultural trappings of Buddhism, what intensive meditation offers to long-term practitioners is a kind of metacognitive hack of the human operating system (a metaphor that probably crossed Jobs’ mind at some point.) Sitting zazen offered Jobs a practical technique for upgrading the motherboard in his head.”

 I love that. It’s a great metaphor, and a bridge for the 21st century person to contextualize ancient wisdom and apply it to their own life. 

For me personally, I find when I read about great people, it’s always in the back of my head to see how we stack up. How are we alike, how are we different, and most importantly, how can I learn from this person and be better? I’m going to buy the two books referenced in this article, and start there.

Simplicity. Love. Focus. And no shortcuts! I’m taking those mantras as well.

(update! I made this gif to illustrate my point.)

(update again! wth? why don't most photo hosts want to play nice with gifs? I thought there is a gif renaissance. {lol - andy always yells at me when I say stuff like that})

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