Ask Vinni

Longer, well researched posts primarily focused on philosophy, psychology and self improvement. Topics I've mulled over for weeks. Irregularly updated.

 

Essays and other writings

Shorter, weekly articles on principles and thoughts that have been in my mind for a couple of days. Contradictory and rough, evolving as I do.

The Way of the Warrior – Bhagavad Gita

Bhagavad Gita

“Life offers no fiercer battle than this war within.”
— Eknath Easwaran

What separates warriors from savages? What can we learn from people who dedicated their entire lives to fighting? Were they seeking something bigger or just being mindlessly violent?

If there has ever been a constant in my life, that constant has been battles.

Whether it was on top of tatami during martial arts practices, the struggle to do one extra rep when working out or even to get up when not feeling like it. I’ve been fighting ever since I was born, and chances are you have too.

And the least we should do, when in a battle, is to behave like a warrior.

Being Grateful

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I’ve had a few major changes in my life. By that I mean not only that external circumstances changed, but also that (and perhaps even more frequently than the former) something within me changed.

Some of my external changes were moving to different countries, cities, landing jobs and meeting people. As for my internal ones, they’re a little harder to pin down. Maybe because I don’t know myself as well as I would like to, or simply because whatever is internal is often harder to define due to its nature; we can’t see or touch those changes.

The most recent one, however, is quite easy to define: I learned how to be grateful.

Top 5 Books 2015

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I read a lot of books in 2015. Some weeks had me finishing one every two or so days and others took me closer to an entire month to finish. I was fortunate to have only read very good books throughout this time (in fact there are very few that I rated with less than 3 stars on goodreads) but a few always stand out from the rest. Here are the top 5 books I read in 2015.

How to Plan Your Life Around Your Creativity

Creativity

Creativity is a strong word that we hear very often, a quality desired by many. Some believe we are either born with creativity or we’re not. And if we aren’t born with it, we’re out of luck. I myself used to believe that creativity is something we either have or we don’t, and that I wasn’t in the “blessed” group.

But something about that thought seemed wrong, and because of that I went looking for solutions, ways to stimulate my creativity and make the most of it. I found several books and articles, read them and didn’t feel like I was getting closer to where I wanted. I didn’t feel like anything was changing in my life as those articles and books promised.

Heaven and Hell by Jón Kalman Stefánsson

Heaven and Hell Jón Kalman StefánssonThis is a book about hell. About death, about feeling helpless and having no reason to go on anymore. It’s a book about choices and contrasts.

But heaven is found in the words.

The reality of a village somewhere in northern Iceland in the 19th century is the perfect setting for such a contrast. When everything is as uncertain as it was back in those times, when darkness is all we have for a good half of the year and no matter how much we fight the cold, it will reach us eventually, we have to find other ways to warm ourselves.

In those cases, it’s okay to find solace in words. As long as we don’t rely solely on them, because of course “words are not enough and we become lost and die out in the heaths of life if we have nothing to hold but a dip pen.”

The story is simple and serves mostly as a background for the wonderful prose that carries the reader through this book. A boy loses his friend on a fishing expedition. A friend who was too busy memorizing lines from Paradise Lost to remember to bring his windbreaker along. The boy sets out to return the book to its owner so that later he can meet his friend in death.

But even though the choice between “life” and “death” might seem simple, everyone hesitates. Everyone trembles from time to time, looking over to the other side, wondering if the simple exit is the right exit. If it’s about time we leave this life we came to. And as complicated as life is, even “dying has its responsibilities.”

This is a book that will touch you if you allow yourself to be touched. It’s a book that will make you think, make you drop it halfway through to reflect on a passage you just read, it’s a book that will give you a new way of looking at the smallest things, and it’s a book that will motivate you.

Heaven is to be found in the words. But hell, well… “Hell is to be dead and to realize that you did not care for life while you had the chance to do so.”

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