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Over on the cold exposure thread, I posted about how I spent much of July and August living in the forest. Drew asked me to explain why, so I figured I start a new topic rather than clog up the already incredibly long CE thread. So here goes. Drew wrote: No, not really - not rationally anyway :-), but let me take a crack at it. I really enjoyed communing with nature during our trip to Costa Rica (which was supposed to be a CR mini-retreat, but which everyone from the CR Society except Gordo eventually bagged out on). In particular I fell in love with the location we stayed a (Finca de Vida - or "Farm of Life" FoL). When I got home I immediately started thinking about potentially going back to FoL sometime. They I thought "maybe I can recreate the feel of the FoL closer to home". So I searched the forest near my house and found a beautiful spot. I spent the next several weeks fixing it up, trying to recreate several specific aspects of Finca de Vida. When I was through, I found it was such a enchanting and peaceful place to spend time at that I would hang out there every chance I got. I finally set up a tent and started spending nights there as well. Below is a video I took of my forest hermitage, before I was asked to stop living there by the owner of the property, who eventually discovered it. I bet Gordo will see shades of Finca de Vida in what I created: I initially thought of it as a Thoreau thing (from Walden): "“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” and: “I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.” But about ½ way through my time living in the woods, I stumbled upon the Thai Forest Tradition a branch of Buddhism which takes the early teaching of the Buddha quite literally, exemplified by Ajahn Chah (here is one of his great books on the practice). I realized that both the teachings and lifestyle of this tradition resonate with me. In fact, I discovered I was already following the eight precepts of a Buddhist monastic without even realizing it. Below is a short documentary on the Thai Forest Tradition of Buddhism, to give you a flavor: I still hang out at my spot in the forest for a few hours each day, feeding the deer, birds and squirrels, practicing walking meditation the stone path you see in the video and generally soaking in the beauty of the forest surroundings. In fact, I'm headed there now. --Dean
Poetry and Medicine | June 28, 2016 We only have our body Carol Snyder Halberstadt JAMA. 2016;315(24):2737. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.2000. Curl, and rest your head. There is no separation. We are the rooms and the gates that stand in open places, unsealed and closed behind us, becoming fewer. How do we move through the pain of what cannot continue? When I was five years old and my memories began in the sun among blackberries, I found a hen becoming maggots, its feathers of beauty stirring on the earth. Death cannot be healed. Our birth rises to it, as a firefly from the shadows.