Why are you afraid to ask the GPA of your professor when he/she was an undergrad?

I was very enthusiastic to learn about vipassana meditation.
I was listening to the meditation teacher who was about to give a real vipassana practical training.
Vipassana indicates “to observe things as they really are,” and that is exactly what I wanted to experience in my life.
This was the first time in my life I was in the formal training of vipassana meditation though I used to do it randomly on my own at home.
Our teacher told us to ask any questions that the participants had before the formal practical training.
In most of the programs, question-answer sessions are generally at the end of the session but in this program the question-answer session was in the beginning.
I asked my teacher, “I remain busy due to my nature of work, my mind is always occupied with things, so I often don’t get time to meditate and I generally skip. What do you recommend?”

The teacher said, “I’m not here in a position to tell all of you what to do and what not to do. That is your job. I’m here to share with you what I learnt through my more than two decades of meditation experiences.”

He further indicated to me, “You said you remain very busy all the time, that is very good for you, but being busy is your choice, I can’t help that. Therefore, I request all of you, never ever say I don’t have time, I can’t do this because I’m busy. You’re busy means the task you’re avoiding isn’t in your priority. In my personal view, busyness is a way to escape important things in life by completely substituting them with only urgent, semi urgent, and mostly mundane things. Urgent has immediate consequences but important has long term consequences so we need to balance both.”

He further said, indicating my question, “Can I ask you something? Do you have time for breathing?”
The whole participants laughed, I felt embarrassed and stupid, I said to myself why the heal I asked the question.
Teacher looked towards the organizing committee and asked, “how many people were supposed to be here according to your invitation response?”
Organizing committee representative replied, “around 40 people replied ‘yes’ to attend this session but only 28 people made it today and physically they are here.”
Then again he added the point, “Look at here, it’s not that only you are busy, there are so many out there who are also busy like you and they couldn’t make it today even though they said they would make it in the invitation reply. You made it, that’s great, thank you for being here.”

He elaborated more, “Majority of us don’t find time to do boring things in life such as meditation, but very few of us make time to do it. Just remember, many important things in life are really boring. So, it’s up to us whether we find time for it or make time for it. We don’t need to find time for meditation if we get the direct positive impact from it.”

“Whatever we are doing for a day, just stop for two minutes, close our eyes, and count our normal breathing, feel and observe it. How many times did we breathe in and breathe out?”

He said, “We did meditation for the day, we just did 2 minutes meditation, no need to suffer, no need to find time for it, no need to change our schedule. Let’s repeat this at least 10 days regularly, we will know what meditation is and what it does for us.”
“If we stop in 4 days without completing it’s dose, it won’t work.
Think of this way, what happens to our 10 days’ antibiotic dose if we stop in 5 days? Does an antibiotic work in our body?
What would your doctor respond if you say you didn’t finish the 10 days’ antibiotic dose?”, he elaborated.

This is what I learned personally from any kind of training in my life: once anything good becomes a habit, we have to treat it as a lifelong project.
The benefit would be exponential.
Once we start the project, we have to stop for a day when we still feel like continuing to do it and do it tomorrow, and day after tomorrow again.

Rumi has said beautifully, “What you seek is seeking you.”
We’re not only looking for our project, it’s also looking for us. We wouldn’t have had the desire for a project in the first place if some higher power or our intuition didn’t put it there.
This is a secret of success for any life long project.

Our teacher ended his session by saying, “if nothing works in your life, your daily routine of any good habit will work. I don’t have scientific backing at this point but your daily routine will change your biology, the nervous system.”

In 2015 in Philadelphia, I asked a very simple question to my primary care physician doctor in a follow-up appointment during the discussion of my lab test result.
He said to me, “you’re in prediabetic level, and your cholesterol is also slightly higher, you’ve to lower these numbers.”
I pondered and asked myself how did it happen? I always felt that I’m healthy but I never knew where and how I screwed up my health.
A sudden but random question came to mind, I asked, “doctor, what exactly this insulin is and why it’s not working in my body?”
To my surprise, my doctor said that insulin is a hormone and after that sentence, I simply saw only his blagging, he couldn’t answer it properly.
It was quite a shock for me.
He was above 60 in his age and doing medical practice for the last 30 plus years.
I directly came home from the clinic even though I had prior planning to go back to my office. I was preoccupied and thinking to myself only how I screwed up my health?

I was also a little bit frustrated when my doctor couldn’t explain the chemistry between insulin and my blood glucose level.
I remembered many years ago one of my teachers told me that 90 percent or more of the knowledge that we gather during our lifetime we simply forget, because we never use it.
The only knowledge we remember is that knowledge which we use by action consistently.
Sometimes we become contagious in our daily work without thinking much about what we’re doing.
Probably that’s what might have happened to my doctor. I’m not judging him and his competency, simply putting my thought on what I observed.

The number 121 mg/dL, my glucose level in blood, was bogging me so I called another clinic and made an appointment for the next day.
In the USA, at least, we have the privilege to change our primary care physician if we want.
I didn’t change my physician but saw the second physician for my lab test in a different clinic.
On the morning of the second test day I intentionally ate a peanut butter sandwich with two pieces of whole wheat bread. I also ate a bowl of cheerios with two percent cold milk, and 4 pieces of strawberries on top of it.
I also drank hot tea made from boiling water, two percent milk, tea leaves , and 2 spoonfuls of sugar.
I took my glucose test for the second time, I got 117 mg/dL.
Nurse said to me, “your number is not bad, the doctor will tell you what steps you need to take.”
I remember the first glucose test number 121 mg/dL was on fasting but this number 117 mg/dL is after eating.
“Why is this discrepancy?” I said to myself.
I guessed that these numbers keep changing according to the time difference between my eating and testing time.

Without telling my wife, otherwise she would tell me I was a nerd, I also took the third test after two days in the third clinic, I got 115 mg/dL.
After this test, I didn’t care much about these numbers, I knew these numbers could not represent my body mechanism.

If you are serious in your health and make your health a number one priority in your life, never ever settle with one doctor, one test result, and one medical equipment for any kind of diagnosis. Any of the above can give you errors due to various reasons.

After knowing these numbers I realized that my life is somewhere else, at least not in these changing numbers.
Truth to be told, I’m neither escaping nor skipping these numbers, I’m simply trying to see what is inside these numbers.
The beauty of life isn’t in managing desired numbers, beauty is in making the desired numbers, therefore, I made health a number one priority in my life.
If we only manage life, we have to avoid vanilla ice cream our whole life but if we make life we don’t have to avoid vanilla ice cream in our life.
Let me confess this, vanilla ice cream is damn good, if you can’t eat due to your numbers then you are missing the taste of life.
As a result of this life philosophy that I breathe everyday, my glucose level has consistently been under 100 on fasting for the last 5 plus years. How I did this could be the topic for next time.

Keep in mind, our life always runs on track, we know the upper number, we know the lower number, we also know what is the correct number.
More than that, our doctor and nurse also keep reminding us of these numbers quite often.
But, we never try to know what exactly these numbers do in our life.
We never try to understand these numbers in the bigger picture, if there is something wrong with these numbers we never try to fix them keeping them in perspective, we only try to manage them.
I’ve seen many people around me only managing these numbers without knowing how the desired numbers can be made.

If we are stressed out because of these undesired numbers we’re living in the past, if we’re more anxious only about the desired numbers, we’re living in the future. But if we know what these numbers do in our lives and how to make them ourselves then we are at peace, we are living in the present.

The numbers in our life are a language, they are just symbols, they don’t have absolute meaning.

My 121 number that the doctor gave me for the first time was just a representation of an instant fraction of a second’s snapshot of my body mechanism.

One of my trader friends used to tell me the numbers on the screen about his stock, he used to say that the numbers on the screen are not real, it is a representation of an instant fraction of a second’s snapshot of millions of people who are doing transactions worldwide at that moment.
“They keep changing 24/7, don’t trust them,” he told me.
My friend said to me, “If you know the language of these numbers on the screen and its mechanism for your stock, you might become the next Ray Dalio.”
I said, “whoopee.”
The real game of life is to read the language of numbers and move ahead.
Our life is somewhere else waiting for many more important things, at least not in these tiny bits of snapshot numbers.
The goal is to know the whole language by all of the numbers which can reinvent us.
These tiny snapshot numbers from here and there are like random words which don’t make any sense until we join them together and make a complete sentence that gives the full meaning.
I’m learning to live by a quote of a man who inspired billions of people on the planet.
“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” Mark Twain.

There are two types of people in this world. One category is those who are against the change who are kind of managing desired numbers and the other category are those who are for the change who are kind of making desired numbers.
They both have one thing in common: their conviction, therefore, the whole world is in balance.
The most beautiful thing in life is to accept wherever we are, then only we can evolve.
We don’t have to go either for change or against the change aggressively, we have to evolve through in between.
The process of evolving is basically the adaptation in life.
Once we adapt with something good, use it otherwise we forget it and become useless.
The beauty of evolving in between change and against change is that we don’t have to copy any other people, we don’t have to copy our teachers, we don’t have to copy our parents, we don’t have to copy anybody who made successful things before.

We have to learn from their genuine causes why and how they started in the first place.
Evolving means learning some specific thing for a specific purpose in life.
It doesn’t mean just to be educated which is very simplistic, it means to be genuine and practical with laser focus.
We can learn by any means, we can learn by asking simple questions, we can learn by reading, we can learn by doing, we can learn by sitting in silence, and we can learn by travelling. There are so many options.

The most important thing I am learning is by asking questions, by asking simple questions, that is one of the tools of human evolution in the 21st century.
Therefore, don’t be afraid to ask a simple question in any circumstances.
When I was a graduate student, there was a small get-together in our professors’ house. Everybody was talking about the GPA requirement to enter into a lucrative profession.
I asked my professor, “Professor, what was your GPA when you were an undergrad?”
He laughed and said, “not good.”
That answer gave me a moral boost that everybody in this world is a working progress.
Ask the dumbest question that you have in your mind if you don’t understand anything in any situation.
Who knows that single question might change your whole life.

When I was a postdoctoral researcher in Virginia, I used to teach chemistry for sophomores as a side hustle. I had one student from Saudi Arabia.
He was an average chemistry student but a very good swimmer.
One day I asked him a very simple question, “Though I’m your chemistry tutor, can you be my swimming tutor?”
Until then I didn’t know how to swim, but now I’m a reasonably good swimmer, at least I don’t die by drowning. This happened to me by asking a very simple question.
One day he took me to his swimming club where I met many very good professional swimmers along with some coaches.
During a casual talk I asked them, “Who is the second best swimmer in the world?”
Nobody could answer it.
They only knew the top swimmer in their field: Michael Phelps.
Then I realized that what is the difference between the number one and number two swimmers in the world?
“What is the secret of this number game?” I asked myself.
Why do we remember only the number one swimmer but not number two or number three at least?
I am still struggling to get the answer of these numbers.
I remember one of the best performers in the world saying, “Number one spot is always overrated. My number one spot is infinitesimal. This universe was here billions of years ago, and will remain many many thousands of billions of years more. There were many great performers in this universe before me, and many many more will be afterwards. Number one spot is nothing for me, it’s a tiny snapshot of my total performance career.”

Thank you for your time.
-Yam Timsina