My Enlightenment

All you have to do is breathe. Let all your thoughts drift away. Let it all goooooo.

| Fall 2018

  • I wish I could say what I found there when I became one of the enlightened ones, but I can’t. Because the journey is the meaning, and every person must discover it on their own.
    Photo by Getty Images/Damedeeso

After many years on anti-depressants, and finding normal unhappiness just out of reach, I decided at last to try enlightenment. My friends had been going on about it for years, but it always struck me as bunk, like Scientology or the novels of Ethan Hawke. However, after many courses of psychotherapy, pharmaceuticals, yogic stretching, alkaline eating, payapa enemas, and nonstop gin, I began to wonder if my friends weren’t on to something. Apart from the cost of a few seminars, enlightenment was free. There was plenty of it, and once you had it, you had it for life. And the way my friends said they felt! They were light of heart and in great humour. Some repaired ancient rifts in important relationships, while others made quick money in morally forward investments. All reported increased libido as well as thundering orgasms, especially in elevators.

To get enlightened, I booked a 30-day silent retreat at one of Ontario’s most bucolic ashrams. Situated in Collingwood, the Mindfuller Contemplatorium and Slide Ride is Huronia’s only waterpark and ashram. In the days leading up to my bus north, I took the website’s advice and practiced a number of shorter silent meditations to get myself ready for the 30 days. I put on loose clothing and assumed a comfortable position on the floor in front of my television, which was off, although I could touch the remote with my big toe. By the day of departure, I was set. I’d meditated up to 40 minutes twice, so I was ready for 30 days, which is after all, just a much longer 40 minutes.  

Check-in was simple. We gave a man with very long hair all of our belongings in exchange for nice, grey robes, and we were told to find a comfortable sitting position in the meditation room. This being our first day, we were only going to do a 10-hour meditation, with hourly breaks for kale crisps.

“There is no right way to breathe,” said our leader, a man who did not identify himself, so I called him Mystery Monk. “Just breathe normally. If a thought comes to mind, let it pass. It is nothing, release it. All you have to do is breathe.”



I put my hand up. Mystery looked at me with great inner peacefulness. “Do we breathe through our noses or our mouths?”

“It does not matter.”