‘Did I miss anything?’ Vermont man goes on 75-day silent meditation retreat during pandemic – WPTZ

Posted: June 12, 2020 at 1:50 am


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Picture going two-and-a-half months without communicating with the outside world.That's exactly what Daniel Thorson, a staff member at the Monastic Academy, did in mid-March."It's so rich. There's so much included in that (experience)," said Thorson. He decided to go on the retreat before the COVID-19 had taken thousands of American lives, before the personal protective equipment shortages and before unemployment numbers skyrocketed."I was completely disconnected from the news cycle," he said.He spent those 75 days in almost complete silence and isolation.He spent his days sleeping, eating, meditating and walking the grounds at the Buddhist Monastic Academy in Vermont's rural Northeast Kingdom."There's no information coming in (during a silent retreat). You're not speaking to anyone besides the teacher here. I would meet with him once every other day for five or ten minutes," he said.Thorson said the two would talk about his experience, and wanted to be notified if anything bad happened to close friends or family so he could come out of his retreat, which didn't end up happening.Though he wasn't vocalizing, he was still communicating with his other senses and could tell something wasn't quite right."I could tell, especially by late March, that there was a real sense of fear," said Thorson.He stuck with it. In late May when his 75 days in silence were through, he logged onto Twitter and wrote, "I'm back from 75 days in silence. Did I miss anything?"Hundreds of people reacted to his post and were fascinated with his story, wondering what it was like to be so disconnected from the coronavirus headlines, which were changing everyday life."I've been completely impressed with some aspects of life that have changed that I wouldn't have known or predicted. I mean I've never lived through a pandemic before. I don't know what that's like," said Thorson.In a lot of ways, he said he doesn't feel like his experience was that extraordinary."Everybody's been on a kind of retreat for the last two months, so in a sense what I did is less exceptional than it normally would have been," he said. "I felt like I really touched the full spectrum of the human experience during that time."Some could call it extreme social distancing, but it's an experience he'd do again in a heartbeat.

Picture going two-and-a-half months without communicating with the outside world.

That's exactly what Daniel Thorson, a staff member at the Monastic Academy, did in mid-March.

"It's so rich. There's so much included in that (experience)," said Thorson.

He decided to go on the retreat before the COVID-19 had taken thousands of American lives, before the personal protective equipment shortages and before unemployment numbers skyrocketed.

"I was completely disconnected from the news cycle," he said.

He spent those 75 days in almost complete silence and isolation.

He spent his days sleeping, eating, meditating and walking the grounds at the Buddhist Monastic Academy in Vermont's rural Northeast Kingdom.

"There's no information coming in (during a silent retreat). You're not speaking to anyone besides the teacher here. I would meet with him once every other day for five or ten minutes," he said.

Thorson said the two would talk about his experience, and wanted to be notified if anything bad happened to close friends or family so he could come out of his retreat, which didn't end up happening.

Though he wasn't vocalizing, he was still communicating with his other senses and could tell something wasn't quite right.

"I could tell, especially by late March, that there was a real sense of fear," said Thorson.

He stuck with it.

In late May when his 75 days in silence were through, he logged onto Twitter and wrote, "I'm back from 75 days in silence. Did I miss anything?"

Hundreds of people reacted to his post and were fascinated with his story, wondering what it was like to be so disconnected from the coronavirus headlines, which were changing everyday life.

"I've been completely impressed with some aspects of life that have changed that I wouldn't have known or predicted. I mean I've never lived through a pandemic before. I don't know what that's like," said Thorson.

In a lot of ways, he said he doesn't feel like his experience was that extraordinary.

"Everybody's been on a kind of retreat for the last two months, so in a sense what I did is less exceptional than it normally would have been," he said. "I felt like I really touched the full spectrum of the human experience during that time."

Some could call it extreme social distancing, but it's an experience he'd do again in a heartbeat.

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'Did I miss anything?' Vermont man goes on 75-day silent meditation retreat during pandemic - WPTZ

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June 12th, 2020 at 1:50 am

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