Friday, 25 February 2011

Project Update: Memorization, Alchemy and Diet


It’s almost the end of February and as a Project Manager I like to do frequent reviews of status to see where I came from, where I’m at and where I’m trying to get to (or actually heading).

Reading Project
In terms of the Project: Understanding the Merkavah User Manual in 2000 pages or less things are going well for two reasons. Firstly I’m managing not to fall asleep as often during my commute in and out of work, which has done wonders for my rate of pages read per day. Secondly the last two books were pretty short, namely:
The Hidden and Manifest God: Some Major Themes in Early Jewish Mysticism
by Peter Schafer (Author), Aubrey Pomerance (Translator)
198 pages
And
The Poetics of Ascent: Theories of Language in a Rabbinic Ascent Text
by Naomi Janowitz
172 pages
It could be that my comprehension of this material has got to such a point that I’ve made a breakthrough that will then be followed by another plateau but is hard to measure.

Life Hacks
Inspired as I was by Rune Soup’s posting about 11 life hacks for 2011, I made some commitments to improving certain facets of my life.

One of those was to “9. Subscribe to The Economist”. Whilst I’ve not quite got around to getting a subscription, I have been reading between 1-5 articles there per week. One that caught my attention this week that I’d like to share is on the rehabilitating the alchemists: “The twisted history of alchemy

Another goal was “11. Devote more time to your appearance”. As well as buying a new formal coat during the January sale, I’ve also lost half a stone due to taking more care in what I eat.

Sefer Yetzirah Memorization
Lastly there the update on my project to memorize the first chapter of Sefer Yetzirah is that I have completed this ahead of schedule. It took just over 5 weeks which is somewhat better than the predicted 12 weeks.Next I'll be working on researching and trying out some meditation exercises based on the first chapter of Sefer Yetzirah.

One of the risks identified: “Risk: 3. Hebrew letters from verses in chapter 1 may intrude in to thoughts at inappropriate times” did actually happen. I’d be walking around during my lunch break and have a fragment of text on a repeating loop in the same way that some tunes get stuck in my head for awhile. This was actually fortuitous as I realized that by singing some of the verses it would make memorizing them easier.