David Duchovny recently went to a Buddhist meditation retreat at a monastery in upstate New York.
You'd think that'd probably be a really relaxing trip, but apparently it was almost the opposite.
"I just went on a retreat to a zen monastery in upstate New York. It's a type of Buddhism and meditation is a big part of it.
I'm a beginner, I've only been meditating for a little while. You pay a fee to go for this weekend and what I didn't know is that even though you pay a fee they put you to work immediately.
You go there and first you bus some tables after you eat and they had me working in the garden everyday for an hour-and-a-half. It was fun, I was shoveling horse shit out there. You pay money and then you shovel horse shit!"
There was of course, times where he wasn't knee deep in manure.
There was a lot of meditation. Though that didn't seem too relaxing either.
"You're meditating quite a lot, 45 minutes maybe three or four times a day… and it's a very strict kind of monastery, they don't want you moving at all while you're meditating. You're sitting cross-legged or sitting on your heels. Your feet go numb… but I figured out a way to cheat and to move.
There's a guy who walks around with a stick and he's banging it and you can ask him to hit you on the shoulders with the stick and it's supposed to hit a pressure point and relieve some sort of stress, so I as he walks by, you're supposed to (bow). This means, 'Please hit me'.
I'd hear him come around and hear him whacking people and when he comes I'll be able to adjust a little, that's all I'm thinking about [because] I'm so uncomfortable. So when he comes round I [bow] and he hits me once here (right shoulder) and he hits me there (left shoulder) and then you do this [bow] which means, 'Thank you for hitting me', so I got to adjust."
Sounds like he figured out how to make his stay somewhat enjoyable.
And even though it might not have been exactly what he expected, he did seem to think it was worthwhile, saying:
"I'm a seeker, a searcher, a seeker of wisdom. I don't know [if it was helpful]. It's hard to say how it gets into your life but I feel that it did.
I would go back. They have people who are there for three months, six months, people who spend their life there."
We're glad you didn't have a bad time shoveling horsie poo!
[Image via RHS/WENN.]