World Gone Bongo: I Cultivated Inner Peace at a Centrist Meditation Retreat

In his latest World Gone Bongo column, Andy recounts his experience of complete blissful nothingness while at a centrist meditation retreat.


Andrew Churnwell

1/24/20222 min read

Earlier this month, I attended a University College Borehamwood centrist meditation retreat in Brean. Under the divine tutelage of a grown up mind guru, a former advisor to Ed Balls, I sat in meditation for hours a day, focusing on the breath while silently repeating a mantra (“Time for change. Time for Blair”). Although I was frequently distracted by thought at first, by day three I was able to give myself over to the divine wisdom of enlightened nothingness; to attain a state in which my brain was unburdened by all ideology and thought; to experience what I understand to be centrist nirvana. 

Words, I don’t believe, can accurately convey this majestic feeling. However, I am tempted to compare it to watching the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics, or perhaps to the halcyon days of Cleggmania, when I had confidently predicted that the future PM would be a man dressed in a daringly nonconformist FatFace fleece. It reminded me of that beautiful period before the rise of the spunkchaffinch Boris Johnson, a time before the menace Jeremy Corbyn haunted my dreams. I reconnected with a past festooned with memories of the 2012 Olympics and classic episodes of Have I Got News For You, and I am not ashamed to confess that I wept as images of Blair ‘97 appeared in my mind’s eye.

When I opened my eyes the world seemed somewhat brighter, as if I had accidentally sat on the remote control of reality. Also, I had soiled my M&S Blue Harbour chinos—a small but ultimately very frustrating consequence of what had been one of the most invigorating experiences of my life. Following my spiritual awakening, I haven’t bothered to continue meditating because I’m a very busy man who is easily distracted by the novelty of consumerism. After all, how could I, a normal taxpaying man, find time to sit about doing nothing all day, like some workshy crusty in a Bristol bedsit smoking spliff pipe? Yet that brief spiritual experience I had at the University College Borehamwood centrist meditation retreat will forever stay with me, reminding me in moments of political uncertainty that only by believing in nothing can I find true moral superiority.

A 3-day stay at the University College Borehamwood centrist meditation retreat costs just £5,000, and includes a free property portfolio seminar from Liverpudlian landlord supremo Robbie Fowler.