In 2004 Billionaires for Bush took to the streets with slogans like "Blood for Oil," "Free the Enron 7," and "Corporations are People, Too." Intentionally or not, we tapped into what you might call the economic unconscious, or the mythic dimension of money.
[Pilgrimage to Nowhere] • After five days at the Thai meditation retreat, I had yet to find a proper teacher. When I met Roger, I launched into a capsule version of my checkered spiritual past, the eclectic influences; my suspicion of organized religion. As best as I could, I described the harrowing quality of those early mystical experiences. "It was as if I had died," I told him. "You did die," he said with a big smile.
[Pilgrimage to Nowhere] • My meditation practice was crap! I was going nowhere, sliding backwards, even. And the picture of myself that emerged — riven
with pettiness and vanity and shame and self-absorbed desires — was
not pretty. I was beyond frustrated. I felt sad and defeated. And to
think: the brochure had promised freedom from suffering.
[Pilgrimage to Nowhere] • With the beautiful view, all meals provided, and the programmed group activities, it almost felt like a resort. But the only sport here was pantomime walking; the only relaxation, brute force sitting… With its rough lodgings and reveille at 4 a.m., Doi Suthep felt more like a Buddhist army barracks – a boot camp for the mind. But what army would make head-shaving optional?
Like any half-literate member of the counterculture, I was theoretically part Buddhist. So I went to a Thai monastery to see what would happen sitting in silence day after day after day. Would I walk out of this spiritual boot camp slightly more realized, slightly more adult?