Friday, April 24, 2009

Life - Cultivate An Interest/Hobby

Many people overlooked the importance of cultivating an interest/hobby in their work/study lives and for this entry, I'll highlight the importance of having one.

Studying for a long course or working for too long in a same role sap alot of energy out of an individual, even if it could be a passion that one finally (and fortunately) had gotten. 

Human is an animal that needs variety in their lives to stimulate their creativity and interest, so a side interest/hobby that one genuine loves helps to take away the monotony in life. 

And regain one's balance for the long run.

Some may think investing time into their personal interest or hobby is wasteful and should divert into their family or rest instead.  But please note that I used the word "invest" for one's interest or hobby.  Yes, it's an investment, to help one develop time to be with themselves.  "Me time" isn't about teaching one to be selfish but part of the self-discovery in my experience of helping myself and others.

I'll now list the importance of having an interest or hobby in the short to long term.

  1. Takes the mind off the stress of the routine life
  2. Discover "a new world" from that interest
  3. Make new friends from it
  4. Enlarge the social circle
  5. Be more learnt of it

It's also interesting (pun not intended) to note that one may find an alternative career from their interest/hobby.  A veteran in the Hong Kong movie industry from the 80s, 蔡澜, was famous for being the key producer for many Jackie Chan's movies.  When the Hong Kong movie industry decline, he and his friends start forming gourmet tour groups all over the world.  He had also became a restaurant consultant to many business owners since.  All these started from his love for food in his movie making days and having made many like-minded friends throughout the years.

However, it's very important not to taint one's interest/hobby with any intention of developing it in the monetary direction.  This will close the mind off to truly learn deep into it.  An interest/hobby is like loving a child or pet unconditionally without thinking of rewards, where a certain level of devotion is needed to receive the full benefits.  Though it's only wise not to put in too much time and money just to upkeep an interest, balance is still important for anything in life.

No matter, whether an interest/hobby will develop into an alternative career, it's already a great joy to know that one learns alot from it and life starts to have seem more fun.

I'd now like to share my experience in my interest to aloeswood (also known as eaglewood, agarwood, 沉香) below.

I've never heard of these precious wood before in my life till I made a friend running a curios store 3 years ago.  After our friendship firmed up, he started showing me what aloeswood is and burnt samples of different grades for me to learn more about them.  I started using them in my meditations, and went on to find out more about them from the internet and the library when my curiosity grew.

Eventually, this friend introduced me to a local distributor of fine aloeswood and I've the great fortune to procure some fine ones for my personal use at a great price.  To seal our friendship, this local distributor gave me a gift of  two 舍利子 (sarira) of a high Buddhist monk.  Sarira isn't something one can buy with money easily and I've the great blessing to own not one but two.

Cultivating an interest/hobby really leads one through doors unimagined.  And I hope your life would be brightened too