Why aren’t you a vegan?

People ask me how I can be a monk and yet not be very monkly. Please note, I write monkly and not monkey, though "people" could be meaning that: Why are you so monkey and not monkly?

Why don’t I practice sitting ramrod straight with folded legs? Why aren’t I a vegan? Why do I drink coffee? Why do you drink whiskey? Why do I have a family? Why do I take all of this so un-seriously?

The fact of the matter is I have tried all of the things that are “correct”. I have tried just about everything under the sun that you are “supposed” to do. And I have rejected most of them because they didn’t work for me. I couldn’t see the benefit - again personally speaking - for me.

For example, when I was a vegan because it was the “right” thing to do, I was actually slowly starving myself. People may say that my diet was all wrong, and I should have this supplement and that supplement, but the truth is it was too rigid - for me - and it didn’t bring me any joy.

Hence the whiskey and the coffee. Even though they are “intoxicants”, a little goes a long way to making my heart sing … “lah lah lahhhh …” Joy is a very underrated propellant for transformation.

I had someone yell at me once; accusing me of not following the proper way of meditating and carrying myself as dictated by the ancient texts. I shrugged my shoulders and said “meh” - and noted he wasn’t sitting on a goat hair skin either.

Rigidity - it is the enemy of joy. It is the enemy of freedom. It is the enemy of discovery.

I’m not against rituals and useful barriers, of taking choices that don’t serve you off the table - but they have to serve a noticeable purpose and benefit TO YOU.

Otherwise it’s just dogma. And dogma just makes your life grey. It puts you in a whole world of “I should”, and that is a nasty wormhole to get trapped in.

It also has to be sustainable. It has to be something you will do time and time again. Now that will change, but regularity trumps (excuse the term) “proper but never done” every time.

So work out what works for you. Work out what brings you maximum joy - don’t just accept someone’s word for it, test it, try it. If an authority is available, quiz them about it.


Good work - go well!



Mindfulness - it’s a funny concept, highjacked a little. I prefer the word “awareness” or “presence” or “noticing” … it is training to be familiar with this moment in time, but also the part of you that never ever changes - even in the middle of the biggest thought or emotional storm. The anchor that stops you flying off the handle, and all it takes to have it is a little practice.

This is a little challenge I devised to get more awareness, and therefore less stress, overwhelm and negativity with more fun, focus and contentment: