(Cue the Survivor TV show intro music in your head if you know it)
What happens when you take a group of foreigners from all over the world and put them in a small monastic village exposing them to extreme sensory deprivation? Two meals a day, 6 hours a night sleep (to begin with), no music, no talking, no phone, no reading, no writing, no perfumes, make up or jewelry, while wearing white formless clothes – we wouldn’t want to stimulate the opposite sex. Then you give them long periods of isolation and ask them to do monotonous walking and sitting meditations during all waking hours of the day. All this for 14 days or more depending on the program you choose.
Will it all be smooth sailing through these extended meditations? Will it be an enlightening experience? Will people say, “Screw this” and pack their bags? Will they shave their heads and join the nunnery? Will they gain anything from this ancient eastern meditation practice? What will happen with “this great F-ing human experiment” as one woman in my house referred to it?
I pictured us all as survivor contestants on what would’ve been the most uneventful reality show of the century. Contestants on a quest – not for the million-dollar prize, but for greater insight and higher consciousness. This is Survivor Vipassana – Chom Tong.