Tag Archive | Experience(s)

Beautiful Models: High-Density Experiences

Train to live on the other side of pain. (Josh Waitzkin)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I had a beautiful experience watching a mosquito drink my blood. I’d never seen it happen.”

“Wasn’t it painful?”

“An essential aspect of my training is exposing myself to discomfort and pain. That’s what it started as, but ended up as a contemplation on the beautiful miracle that is Life.

This is what I call a high-density [<link; short length] experience. It lasted but a few moments, but it felt like so much happened in that brief time-span. I often get the same feeling during my 5-minute meditation sessions.”


Verbal Empties

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“In Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, there’s an underground-train station called ‘The Labor Market’ (‘Piata Muncii’ in Romanian), a vestige of the country’s Communist past.

That name holds a special significance for me. It has nothing to do with the actual meaning of the name, but with the fact that it has a meaning.

For quite a long time, those two words were just the name of a station, nothing more. In my mind they formed one unit, a two-word label pointing to a physical location. The name might as well have been ‘Station Whatever’.

Discovering that those two words had a meaning came as a sudden insight.

It is possible to read the words without grasping the meaning.

For me, this was a mini revelation.

In Romanian we have the expression ‘a citi in gol’, which literally translates ‘to read emptily’. I didn’t make the connection then, but it’s the same thing.

That little moment of insight was a stepping stone, which led to a fruitful inquiry into the limits of language and the nature of understanding itself.

I later called this phenomenon surface understanding (as opposed to deep understanding), and I called the instances of the phenomenon verbal empties.”

“Was this experience what started you on your quest to understand understanding?”

“I think there was a confluence of factors. Maybe the compounding effect of many such little insights.

I captured the memory of that moment of insight in a question:

Are you grasping the meaning, or just reading the words?


I am a mover, I am a thinker, I am a teacher. (Ido Portal)

The (only) reason why I chose to work in a bar is to develop my social skills. So it’s part of my adventure to actualize my potential.

I did, to a certain extent, but as a dear friend astutely observed, I became exceedingly effective at avoiding people while being in their midst.

However there’s an opportunity in every failure. In this case, it was a beautiful instance of serendipity.

Serendipity: luck that takes the form of finding valuable or pleasant things that are not looked for

I did gain something extremely valuable out of it: it (re)kindled my love of movement, and made me fully embrace my identity of “mover”. 

I am a mover, I am a thinker… and I’d love to be able to say about myself some day: “I am a teacher”.

I haven’t received this much attention in my entire life, working as a nightly bar aid at Belushi’s Hammersmith.

For someone who is not very social (yet), this is quite overwhelming. People seem to like what I’m doing. And what I am doing is move. A lot (and maybe in an aesthetically pleasing way). I move very fast and dance around the tables (and people) while collecting glasses. I’ve been jokingly thinking of inventing a new branch of Parkour:

Crowd Parkour: navigating a crowd of people at high speed

People have been asking me if I’m a dancer. No, but I’d love to be. I want to express myself through movement, and dance is a beautiful direction to explore, next to Parkour.

Interestingly, I didn’t know I can move like this, and (to my mind) I didn’t know how to dance before I started working at Belushi’s. When I started working here I had no idea what to expect. Basically I ended up here by chance, it was the only thing I could find, given my lack of previous bar experience.

Who’d have thought it would end up being such a transformative experience, and one of the most important experiences of my life.