Voices Topics Info

Bill Jedis

Dharma Ocean Foundation Advanced Retreat

Interview Conducted by: Addie Schwarz and Ashley Mersereau, 2/26/08


Bill Jedis became involved in the Dharma Ocean Foundation “by way of yoga,” three years ago. After trying yoga he began to meditate, and eventually saw a program called “meditating with the body” through Dharma Ocean Foundation. The program meets for two four day retreats, separated by four months, in which the practitioner practices new techniques learned. Through that experience Bill became aware of other programs and got more involved with Dharma Ocean. Bill first came to Crestone from California for a retreat and eventually moved there last October.

“There are kind of two components for me, one is the social aspect, which is being with other people, which is kind of one of the reasons that I moved here, was to be with other people who were kind of more conscious in that way and as you know, Crestone is a very spiritually conscious place and it’s also beautiful here and there’s a kind of sacredness to the natural surroundings. Minnesota lacked the social component. The two components kind of come together here, you have the sacred space and the family of people.”

“When I first moved here, I thought, this is great, I could live here for the rest of my life. And then I found out that less from a mile from where my house was they were proposing the two exploratory wells. I would be concerned because you know how it (Crestone) is now and the appeal that it has just because of its pristine quality. I can’t imagine it would have the same appeal (for retreats) if there were hundreds of oil wells, or even two. The proliferation of an industrial manufacturing complex out in the wildlife refuge is incomprehensible.”

“ Well, personally, right off the bat, everything is sacred, and every place is sacred.” But, if you were to have a scale, a spiritual Geiger counter, there are certain places that have an energy to them, that other places don’t, or maybe that you can’t feel it as much, but there’s something about a place like Crestone, all of the sacred places in the world, which have traditionally over a period of time, been considered to have that kind of energy in it, and I think that Crestone is probably one of those places.”

“it’s about the history, but a lot of it too is personal experience, because people come here and they feel it. It’s not just like someone says ‘there’s a lot of energy here, you should come check it out’ and they go ‘hmmm, well, there’s a lot of energy here, I should stay.’ You go to a place and go ‘wow, this is really different from where I’m from.’ Also, People come here for programs from all over the United States and the world even, and they come back because it is a special place. People come here and they buy a house, they are so affected by the land that they change their lives. People say, that feeling people have when they come to a program like this, and they go, ‘this is incredible, what an amazing place, I feel so spiritually moved or enlightened;’ when you live here, it’s like that all the time. We were discussing why that was, and part of it is just the mountains, the way the mountains are, they’re there every day, and you establish a personal relationship with the mountains, it’s hard to explain. Every day they’re different, and the clouds are going in and out or you can’t see the tops of them or it’s snowing on one part of the mountain or not, it’s just you kind of establish this relationship with nature just by virtue of living in this space. I think that has a lot to do with why people think it’s that way (sacred), something happens emotionally.

“ It’s hard for me to say that what’s happening wouldn’t have happened to me elsewhere, but it (spirituality) is happening and I’m here.” It does seem there are a lot of people who are here and it’s happening to. It does seem suspicious.”

“You can’t make things unsacred, you can deface them, you can paint graffiti on a rock but it doesn’t make the rock not sacred, just means someone painted graffiti on a rock. But you can certainly reduce the appeal of coming to be there by doing that and that’s what’s at the base here. I expect that the mountain will always be as sacred as it is until it wears down after millions of years, and there’s also the suspicion that nature will win, it’s going to outlast us, nature has the upper hand.”

“You can’t put a price tag on it (Baca), but you can put a price tag on a hundred thousand barrels of oil. But the interesting thing to me is I can see how people might minimize that it’s going to be noisy for the people on spiritual retreat, but it’s on a national wildlife refuge-that’s not just our backyard, that’s America’s back yard, that’s America’s heritage. And for what, two weeks worth of gas production?”

“The whole context of despoiling the land for short term gains or short term solutions is a problem that’s not going to go away. This is not the solution. The whole context is ridiculous. It’s in the larger context of national energy policy.”

“I wouldn’t buy a house here right now (because of drilling), just for personal monetary reasons, the bottom could fall out of the housing market here really quick.”