A Month of Eating Vegan

Kale Plant Closeup

Kale: A common food during my vegan month.

While I was doing the Paleo Diet last year, an acquaintance suggested that I try eating vegan. In his opinion it was healthier, and he pointed out that some top athletes are vegan.

So last month I finally gave the vegan diet a try, and something happened that I never expected (more on that later). [Read more...]

A Month of Tonglen Meditation

Tonglen is a meditation where you visualize yourself inhaling the suffering of others (taking their suffering upon yourself), and exhaling love and compassion back to them. I did it for 30 minutes every day (almost) for the month of December. I’ve meditated before, but this was my first time doing Tonglen.

Why

My goal was not to actually reduce the suffering of anyone else.  If that happened I wasn’t going to complain, but it wasn’t something that I expected.  Rather I hoped that Tonglen meditation would affect me. [Read more...]

A Month of Growing A Beard

0, 20, and 32 days after beard growth began.

0, 20, and 32 days after beard growth began. (The day 0 photo was actually from about a year and a half before I started growing a beard. It was the only straight-on, straight faced photo available.)

Growing a beard for a month was intended to be an exercise in humility.

For years I’ve never allowed more than a few days worth of hair growth on my head & neck before I’d eradicate it. This regular hair removal did an mediocre job of hiding the balding on the top of my head that was starting to leave a horseshoe of about the front & back of my head, and it also hid the greying I’d noticed on my chin when my stubble grew a bit too long. [Read more...]

A Month of Writing To Authors

Books by the four authors I contacted in October.

Ever read a book and wanted to talk to the author after? I have, but I never actually made an attempt to contact any authors… until last month.

In October I contacted a few authors who I’ve been wanting to contact for a while. I was hoping to send them all letters by snail mail (better chance of a response that way, I assumed) but could only find a mailing address for one of them. The others I sent by email or through website contact forms.

Here’s who I contacted…

Sam Harris – Atheist, Philosopher, Neuroscientist

After watching his TED talk on morality (it’s great) and thinking about what he said, I thought I’d found some exceptions to his idea that the “well-being of conscious creatures” is/should be the sole basis of morality. [Read more...]

A Month of Walking In A Forest Daily

Canada Geese & Sunrise Over River

Looking out from the edge of the forest that I visited most often.

Last month I started each day (except for 3) by walking in a forest. One day as I was walking through the forest far from the path, I noticed a deer about 50 meters away that was eating plants and meandering in my general direction. It hadn’t seen me yet, so I sat down among the ferns (so I couldn’t see it – and there was no way it could see me) and waited to see how close it would get.

About 5 minutes later it was about 10 meters away from me and finally noticed me sitting on the ground. I didn’t move, and stayed there on the ground, mostly looking away from the deer so as not to make it uncomfortable. The deer just stood there staring at me (as they often do) and stomping on the ground occasionally. After a few minutes of me sitting there while the deer stomped, the deer let out a sudden snort. The snort alarmed me, so I quickly stood up. As soon as I stood up the deer took off, making huge bounds through the forest with its white tail in the air, snorting loudly the whole time.

It then started making its way back towards me [Read more...]