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23rd Mar 2020

Emerging from a silent meditation retreat to the coronavirus outbreak

Oli Dugmore

It sounds like the plot of a horror movie

You travel to a meditation retreat for over a week with the intention of calming yourself and escaping the ravages of the modern world for a little while, then emerge at the end a more centred person, and feeling a little bit closer to both the earth and yourself.

You do not have access to your mobile phone, for it is just an extension of the modern world you’re seeking to get space from. Unfortunately, this also means that you are not privy to something fairly newsworthy occurring at the time.

So, you enjoy your experience and depart for your normal life, only to realise upon re-entry that the world is not the same one you left. No, the world has been gripped by a pandemic, the kind of which not seen in close to 100 years.

How does that feel? Knowing that all of this has happened without your knowledge? And how does it feel to step back into a world so different from the one you left? We spoke to one man who went through it to find out.