Light Mode

Duchovny shovelled horse manure at monastery

The Californication star escaped to upstate New York for a few days to join a monastery programme aimed at helping guests find inner peace through meditation.

But Duchovny admits the stay wasn’t as relaxing as he thought it would be – because he was put to work as soon as he arrived.

He says, “I just went on a retreat to a zen monastery in upstate New York. It’s a type of Buddhism and meditation is a big part of it…

- Advertisement -

“I’m a beginner, I’ve only been meditating for a little while. You pay a fee to go for this weekend and what I didn’t know is that even though you pay a fee they put you to work immediately. You go there and first you bus some tables after you eat and they had me working in the garden everyday for an hour-and-a-half. It was fun, I was shovelling horse s**t out there. You pay money and then you shovel horse s**t!”

The actor found himself struggling to obey the strict meditation rules which forbid him from fidgeting while in-session, and he soon discovered a way to “cheat” – although it came at a painful price.

He explains, “You’re meditating quite a lot, 45 minutes maybe three or four times a day… and it’s a very strict kind of monastery, they don’t want you moving at all while you’re meditating. You’re sitting cross-legged or sitting on your heels. Your feet go numb… but I figured out a way to cheat and to move. There’s a guy who walks around with a stick and he’s banging it and you can ask him to hit you on the shoulders with the stick and it’s supposed to hit a pressure point and relieve some sort of stress, so I as he walks by, you’re supposed to (bow). This means, ‘Please hit me’. I’d hear him come around and hear him whacking people and when he comes I’ll be able to adjust a little, that’s all I’m thinking about (because) I’m so uncomfortable. So when he comes round I (bow) and he hits me once here (right shoulder) and he hits me there (left shoulder) and then you do this (bow) which means, ‘Thank you for hitting me’, so I got to adjust.”

Duchovny isn’t entirely sure whether the trip was as helpful as he had imagined it to be, but insists he’d like to return to the monastery in future.

He adds, “I’m a seeker, a searcher, a seeker of wisdom. I don’t know (if it was helpful). It’s hard to say how it gets into your life but I feel that it did.

“I would go back. They have people who are there for three months, six months, people who spend their life (sic) there.”

- Advertisement -