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Wright on the struggle to detach and embrace the weeds

August 20, 2009

More from my new intellectual crush. Bob Wright, author of the fascinating new tome  “The Evolution of God”  has another piece on the Happy Days blog at NYT. This one has to do with a silent meditation retreat (in the Vipassana Buddhist tradition). I wonder just where exactly in “rural Massachusetts” this is happening.

Meditation retreats — at this place, at least — are no picnic. You don’t follow your bliss. You learn not to follow your bliss, to let your bliss follow you. And you learn this arduously. If at the end you feel like you’re leaving Shangri-La, that’s because the beginning felt like Guantanamo.

We spent 5.5 hours per day in sitting meditation, 5.5 hours per day in walking meditation. By day three I was feeling achy, far from nirvana and really, really sick of the place.

I interviewed Bob last night. He was down to earth, thoughtful, pleasant. Working on my column about his book now. And this piece seems to reflect a longing he has for meaning and purpose, a longing not satisfied by traditional understandings of the divine, scripture, etc. 

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