Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Drinking the Kool Aid

So since we met last, I took a bus upstate, joined a cult, was subsequently kidnapped and deprogrammed, and live to tell the sordid tale of my misadventures in mysticism!

The Ananda Ashram in Monroe, New York is part yoga retreat, part repository for the epiphanic middle aged who have checked out of life. Or maybe they have entered into the most authentic life of all? Oh fuck me, here we go again... This gorgeous antiquey farm house set on acres of bucolic woods and meadows was founded by the Yoga Society of New York in 1958 by a vaguely menacing, bearded fellow referred to extensively and early as "the guru." His picture is everywhere, and yeah it's creepy, but you get lulled into security by the Sanskrit chanting and steady diet of vegan food and sedatives.

You guys, I had such a great time! "Well obviously," you sneer, "Everyone just has a fabulous time when they run away and join cults." I hear your imperious judgements, my new culty talents include mind reading and levitating. But just check out all the awesome stuff I did:

I slept in a monastic bed.

I got good advice.

I had a picnic.

I met the Unabomber.

I saw a deer family, and had a great idea: I will open an overnight youth hostel for deer when it rains. I don't think nice animals like deer should have to endure torrential downpour, and I don't even much care for animals.

... and I did yoga, and got Ayurvedic massage (no happy endings in this cult, sadly), saw a baby bear eating out of a dumpster, was vegan for the weekend and then promptly ate a cheeseburger with a bottle of red upon my return, as per my deprogramming. But what did I learn this weekend? That like Walt Whitman, "I contain multitudes!" And so do you, you judgy know- it- all, so go! Get thee to an ashram!

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