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“Did I miss anything?”: meet the man who just finished a 75-day silent retreat

It’s the “Sir, you’ve been in a coma for 10 years” meme come to life, but 2020 edition. Imagine travelling to Vermont, excited to reconnect with your spirituality  and find clarity on a silent retreat, only to emerge 75 days later to a post-iso world. 

For Daniel Thorson, it’s all painfully true. After spending two-and-a-half months in a silent meditation retreat, Thorson has re-emerged to a world on the recovery from a pandemic, a world in the midst of a civil rights movement, and a world where Elon Musk is now best friends with NASA. To say he was shocked would be an understatement.

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“While I was on retreat, there was a collective traumatic emotional experience that I was not a part of?” Some lucky bastard just unknowingly meditated his way through COVID.

Embarking on his spiritual awakening mid-March, our naïve friend would have missed out on majority of the pandemic. This means the terms social distancing or self-isolation wouldn’t have even been in his wheelhouse.

“Did I miss anything?” he tweeted out to friends and family on the morning of May 23rd. “Everything else is gone,” he told Boston.com about his immediate reaction. “There’s nothing about the election! It’s amazing! The Australian wildfires, what happened there? Didn’t Brexit happen?” 

“I was thinking, is it going to be Mad Max out there, like are we the last survivors?” he said. “How is humanity doing?” Oh Danny, if you only knew.

He slowly learnt of Boris Johnson’s near-death COVID experience and recovery, that his cousin had met her new partner through a socially-distanced dating app, and that Zoom has its very own channel dedicated to ecstatic dance. As much as we’re all very jealous of Danny and his spiritual retreat, having to process three months’ worth of global chaos in a few hours would be a very overwhelming experience.

“Everybody has extremely strongly held, very different opinions about everything: how dangerous it is, what the response should have been, how it’s going, whether or not we need to isolate, how to treat it if you get it,” he said. “There is one consensus proposition that, it seems to me, everybody holds. It’s that whatever happened in the last three months is one of the most significant events in modern history.”

Check out his full interview here.