Digestable #12: Wild Swimming, Dangers of Meditation, Unbreakable Resolutions, Peter Thiel

Welcome to another edition of Digestable, the short, weekly email where I share information, ideas, and what’s new with me. This edition was delivered to subscribers on April 11th, 2021.

Here’s what’s up this week:

  • Wild swimming: re-wilding and overcoming life-changing illness through cold water swims: This 6 minute video beautifully tells the story of one woman adding life to her years by immersing herself in wild swimming environments. A psychologist I follow, Kelly McGonigal, suggests that the best exercise for you is the one that makes you pause when you see it while scrolling through your Instagram feed. If I was on Instagram, this video would make me pause – it’s time for me to invest in a wetsuit!
  • The Dangers of Meditation. Meditation is having another moment in the spotlight and all you’ll hear about are the benefits. This well-researched report in Harper’s Magazine takes the rose-colored glasses off to highlight the potential for significant psychological harm. The researcher reminds us that the Buddhist origins of meditation were not a form of stress-relief, but “ultimately aimed at exiting the world”. It was not a form of body-acceptance, but rather “to bring to full realization its utter repulsiveness, coursing as it is with blood, phlegm, and pus.” In early Buddhist writings, “monks in the Zen tradition may encounter “diabolical phenomena,” which are characterized by involuntary movements and frightening mental imagery.” I’ve written more about meditation in my blog post: Memorization for Meditation & Mindfulness.
  • Podcast interview with “Dry Toast” and “Dan Fondo”. I was recently interviewed for an episode of “The Fact of the Matter” podcast, called, The Facts of Life. This interview turned into three guys enjoying rich conversation on growing a family, friendships, career, and a healthy lifestyle. If you enjoy this episode, a Part 2 is in the works.
  • Using “Unbreakable Resolutions” to enhance self-control. What can Gandhi and a 19th-Century Prussian Prince teach you about keeping commitments? A group of psychologists from Edmonton’s own McEwan University wrote a behavioral analysis of these two intriguing characters and published a sweet website to summarize their research – including an infographic poster and a 5-step guide to implement the findings! I had the pleasure to sit in on a talk at a local meditation studio by one of the authors, Dr. Rodney Schmaltz, thanks to my friend Cody Lakevold (thanks again, Cody!).
  • Question I’m Pondering: “What important truth do very few people agree with you on?” This is a question that Peter Thiel poses when interviewing job candidates. Peter Thiel is the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, business partner of Elon Musk, and the first outside investor in Facebook. He asks this question because he believes courage is harder to find than genius, and it takes courage to share an unpopular opinion. He is looking for people who can innovate, and people are more likely to innovate if they see the world differently than those around them. 

Thanks again for following along. If you know someone who would like to receive these types of updates from me, I’d love it if you shared it with a friend or two.

Should you come across anything noteworthy this week please send it my way!

Yours truly,

P.S. A photo of technology use at its finest. Here is 14-year old Salem, collaborating on a new song via FaceTime with his friend Meshach. I’m thankful for technology like this and friends like Meshach during these government lockdowns. Salem is really developing as a guitar and piano player, he plays lead guitar for the Rizn Youth band on Friday nights.

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