I’m in!

20 12 2005

Originally uploaded by Kevin V.

Since last Thursday, I’ve been on a rollercoaster of events. First, I got in to MIT, which should have had me hitting the roof. However, seeing the telltale tube and knowing I had work to do dissipated the excitement a bit. I found out that the decision came in as I got out of the shower. As I glanced at the cardboard tube, I thought to myself, this is either the obvious – a creative acceptance letter or some colossal poster with thousands of names printed on it, with my name highlighted, reading: ‘The Waitlist: You Are Not Alone’ “. I guessed the former, and much to my joy, I found out I got in! Not only that, but they packaged confetti and several letters of congratulations. It was truly exicting. I was in such a rush to see whether or not I was accepted, I ended up putting my shirt on backwards. Leaning over “the tube”, I noticed the Manufacturer’s tag in front of me. Laughing, I said “look guys, I am a genius!”


10 12 2005

Never Quite as Scary
Originally uploaded by Kevin V.

Usually when I talk about myself, I’m confusing. Tonight, I’m going to try something different.

I’m going to talk about thought.

I spend most of the day inside my head. About an hour each way to and from school serves as quality meditation time. I generally listen to music that is poetic, calming, or tied to memories. The music I listen to serves as a starting off point for a chain of thought. Sometimes I ponder about death, sometimes about God, and sometimes about life between dreams. I’ll take a song and draw together a conclusion by pulling it apart. I’ll read the lyrics the night before and in the car, I’ll just think.

My trains of thought eventually go beyond the music. I find myself trying to stretch the song to fit my life. I’ll throw out a stanza, throw out a line or two. I’ll argue with music, trying to find why it shouldn’t fit. Once in a while I’ll make a tune in my head and start simply singing lyrics I’ve never heard before. Sometimes I like the lyrics and many times I find them rambling and repetitive, but either way I forget them by the time I get home.

And there are times I turn off the music and just ponder things. I wonder about chapel sometimes and what people say and whether or not I agree. Like when Matt Furman gave a homily earlier this year about his mother. I agree that it was a touching story, powerful and intense especially to Matt, but he taught the wrong message. He spoke of prayer as if it has physical healing powers. He spoke as if his personal connection with God remedied his mother’s cancer. He believed, and she was saved, and he believed more. And if she died? To me, the lesson isn’t about praying to God for things to get better. Prayer is about reconciling the world around you with yourself. It’s about coming to terms peacefully with adversity and living a better life because of it. Whether or not she was saved doesn’t matter.

Sometimes my thoughts turn inward. I think about how easy it is not to meditate in our high-stress environments. I wonder why, though I enjoy going to church, I’ve found reasons not to go. I guess about how I got to be the way I am. A lot of that has to do with my childhood I think, especially my energy and motivation to simply act. I jumped. I played. I read. I immersed myself in Treasure Mountain. I’ve spent time wondering how (and why) I’m so dedicated to honor and integrity. I’ve thought about why I always turn everything into a personal guilt trip. I think about how I’ve made myself feel like a terrible person for committing an error, a small mistake. How I try to take “learning from your mistakes” to another level. And I think about how I try to hide that whole process.

I can criticize myself better than anyone I know. Personal accountability is an understatement. Idealism is key to my central persona. Anything failing perfection is worth criticizing, worth bringing down, worth a public denunciation. However, I’ve gotten along fine forgiving everyone’s little errors. Drinking problems, drugs, crass comments, mental abuse – I can pass off other people’s mistakes easily enough; generally I just let it go, sometimes by ignoring them. On the other hand, if I let someone down by forgetting to do something, I will try to criticize myself until I can feel like (1) I’ve atoned for my mistake and (2) I won’t make the same error again.

I think about lighter things too. For example, love. Next time you’re at church, meditate on God not as an individual. God isn’t a character, it/he/she is more. When I think of God I see God as more of a Jungian universal unconscious that groups the human race together and not as simply the Zeus-like father. What is this binding force to the human race? For me, it is love. Love for our fellow man. If you read the words on the screen in chapel and substitute “love” for “God”, you’ll realize that our compassion for one another is what we profess. Love can demand that we do better, but its very nature is forgiving for when we fail to share in loving. Love can guide us through the desert. Love for the human race is what separates those we call inhuman (the Husseins, the McVeighs, the Hitlers) from those we deem human. This is just an interesting meditation exercise that produces a range of results.

Most of the time, people don’t think I can possibly have thought something out ahead of time. I do think things out ahead of time because I find time to think it out. Mr Clemmons once asked my English class what is the difference between “house” and home”? I replied with seconds: a house is merely where you reside and home is “where the heart is”. I read from the expression on the faces of my friends that they had not expected that answer so quickly. Granted, a similar answer is found in the movie Garden State. However, I came to this conclusion days before when I just spent time thinking. I spend my time thinking things through, reading about new problems to consider – for example, how best to tackle intelligent design (which I myself believed in years ago). Everyday, I spend time thinking.

By now you’re probably wondering if I just go home and think about things all the time. The answer of course is no. However, I squeeze in thoughts and meditations whenever I can. I memorize lyrics and extensive quotes from movies in order to be able to grasp a question better. I don’t find the time I spend thinking a waste of time. In fact, most of the time I spend thinking I’m doing something productive.

Most of the time, I’m just thinking on the morning drive to school.