Ashrams thriving as businesses fail

yogaContemplating your job loss? Many in your situation are flocking to places where contemplation is welcome, even expected. American ashrams for those of the Hindu faith, and Buddhist religious retreats are experiencing a burst of interest among those who suddenly have the free time to pursue enlightenment.

According to the New York Times, one ashram, the Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, Penn. has seen a doubling of applications for its 28-day, $825 work/study program this year. The Institute also offers long-term residencies at minimal cost, $3,000 a year, which includes food and lodging. Students must also carry out chores to keep the place running. Residents have the opportunity to attend educational sessions as well as focus on their meditation and yoga practice.

It's hard to criticize the decision of those attending facilities such as this one, or the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in California, or the Satchidananda Ashram (also known as Yogaville), in Virginia, who are using their new freedom to better themselves rather than beating their heads against the locked and shuttered HR doors of American businesses. It beats laying on the sofa and sucking down brewskies, imho.

The fact that money is of minimal importance in these settings is also appealing to those who have spent a lifetime in its pursuit.

In a perfect world, by the time these seekers have discovered what they came for, the job climate outside will have loosened up enough that they can resume working. Many, I suspect, will discover they no longer want to jump back into the rat race.
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