This page contains the description of a path on which an individual's journey is unfolding. For each stage, there is a focus and a relevant concept.
When my wife was working on a dissertation, around 2000-2002, I learned from her the basics of phenomenology. I especially appreciate the idea of "suspending presuppositions." It's not easy to realize how much of our beliefs are just assumptions.
During my college teaching career, there was a fundamental change in my thinking. Until then, I more or less accepted and enjoyed the reductionistic approaches. But by around 2003-2004, I became convinced that I cannot deal with any realistically interesting things without complex systems perspectives. I also read a book about complex systems, which discusses attachment theory. I was drawn to the topic and created a college first year seminar integrating ideas in attachment theory and complex systems.
About two weeks before starting the "attachment" course, we learned that my wife was pregnant. It was a total surprise and we were completely unprepared. During my wife's pregnancy, I learned many things about parenting by reading and also by teaching the course. We initially thought about keeping both of our full-time jobs and send our daughter to a day care center. But reading about attachment theory and day care, we became concerned. By the time our daughter was born in 2005, we decided that I leave my job to spend time with our daughter, while my wife kept her job. Since then, parenting has been my primary responsibility (my role has been much reduced after our daughter started kindergarten, though). For our daughter's third birthday, we even wrote a book on attachment theory, Ava's Bedside .
Parenting was very challenging for me, partly due to my own attachment issues. The knowledge of attachment theory was certainly helpful but only to some extent. Then, I broke my hip in 2008 and faced an even more challenge. Unfortunately, the healing process was very slow. Not only a job and status, I also temporarily lost my ability to walk and ability to adequately care for my daughter. I felt as though I lost, almost, everything. Then, I saw a hope. As the focus of that year, I had been exploring the connection between attachment theory and mindfulness (my essay on this topic). I was actually practicing mindfulness/insight meditation and seeing its effects on my parenting practice. Thanks to meditation, I felt I could overcome the difficult situation. I then came to believe that mindfulness/insight is indeed the key to deep satisfaction in all aspects of my life, not just that particular situation (e.g., I recently explored the connection between education and mindfulness). And the best resource for me has been the Buddhist psychology/path (e.g., the Four Noble Truths) and its meditation practice, rather than its religious and philosophical aspects. This move even integrated my experience with complex systems within the idea of dependent origination. As I practice more, I came to realize various limitations associated with emphasizing bare attention; this point is addressed in this essay on right mindfulness (with a lot of diagrams).
As a practical application of mindfulness, I am exploring how to bring about changes in people, including both other people and myself (my main focus for 2014). This turns out to be a huge challenge and I am re-reading relevant books and adjusting my practice to move forward.
For those being in a state of shock, the road to recovery must be hard. But the hardest point for me is that a disaster can happen also because of intrinsic motivation. Honestly, I have little idea about how to digest and make sense of this point. But I cannot eliminate my feeling that it has something to do with not being able to directly experience the truth. In short, it seems like mass mindlessness or mass anosognosia.
[To be continued]