Sunday, August 20, 2006

vancouver and raw food experiments

I recently went to Vancouver for the annual meeting of the Society for Mathematical Psychology. It was quite an adventure: even upon flying in there, we could see the snowy Mount Reinier from the airplane. Then flying in Vancouver Bay is absolutely stunning. Vancouver is a quite dramatic city: beaches, mountains and a big city all in one. It has lots of Japanese immigrants, hence sushi is a very popular food and I ended up eating sushi pretty much every day! The conference itself was also quite wonderful - I enjoy these conferences with relatively few attendees. There were some good talks about mathematical psychology and the brain, including great talks by Greg Ashby and Mike Shadlen who come from two opposite directions: Mike Shadlen starts from single neuron firing in monkeys during a decision making task, Greg Ashby starts from box models of the human brain about categorization and works his way down to the neural level, using fMRI. The brain is just so hard!

In the recent days I have been experimenting quite a bit with raw food, and one example of those things are some nice raw lunchboxes I created, of which I have pasted a picture here as well. It's quite an adventure. One extremely helpful resource is Karen Knowler's weekly eZine with lots of good articles and tips. What I like about it is that it's a very fast and also quite healthy way of eating, even though I do not think at this point that eating 100 % raw is a great idea. But more raw and unprocessed food is definitely good, and especially because it seems to reduce my cravings for sugar-heavy foods, which is really the main goal.


"Who is the outer teacher? None other than the embodiment and voice and
representative of our inner teacher. The master whose human shape and
human voice and wisdom we come to love with a love deeper than any
other in our lives is none other than the external manifestation of
the mystery of our own inner truth. What else could explain why we
feel so strongly connected to him or her?"

I decided to write a little about teachers, since teachers of all
kinds play such an important part in my life. I think it is essential
to find good teachers to teach you the art of life. In the beautiful
quote above that comes from Sogyal Rinpoche's book "Glimpse after
Glimpse" (July 27) it is shown how sometimes a teacher we meet can be a
manifestation of what we really need and want to develop. I think good
teachers are very challenging to work with, because they want only the
best you can give them, nothing less. Yet also the interactions with
them are extremely rewarding because not only do they show you the
path, but they are often also great examples. In fact I feel this
applies to not only my spiritual teacher, but also to my ballet
teachers and my thesis advisor, and many of the teachers I have had in
the past. These days, the role of the teacher often gets devaluated
and there is not a lot of respect for them, which greatly diminishes
their ability to actually confer their experience to the
students. This is quite contrary to the way it still works in ballet,
where a teacher is usually not gone against and is curtsied at the end
of every class (to just give some examples). Of course it is also
important to develop critical thinking, and not to take everything the
teacher says at face value, but this can be done after the knowledge
is tested out (this is interestingly enough also what the Buddha seems
to have said to his students: do not believe things I say just because
I say them, test them for yourself). To be pushed by a teacher and to
work very hard can in the end be a joy because it allows you to
transcend your own boundaries. This is why I believe it is so
important to meet good teachers.