Even as millions of Twitter users rang in the new year with all manner of tweets, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was silent — very silent.
Dorsey, who’s an avid user of the service, hadn’t tweeted since 22nd December last year. He resurfaced today and declared he’d been on a 10-day silent Vipassana meditation course. “Just finished a 10 day silent meditation,” he tweeted. “Wow, what a reset! Fortunate and grateful I was able to take the time,” he added.
Just finished a 10 day silent meditation. Wow, what a reset! Fortunate & grateful I was able to take the time. Happy New Year! 😌 #Vipassana
— jack (@jack) January 1, 2018
Vipassana is a grueling Buddhist meditation technique that involves remaining completely silent for large amounts of time. “Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. It was rediscovered by Gotama Buddha more than 2500 years ago and was taught by him as a universal remedy for universal ills,” says the website of the Art of Living foundation, which runs regular programs in India. Vipassana courses usually require attendees to check into a spartan ashram, eat basic rice-dal meals, and contemplate the meaning of life while not speaking for days on end.
The results are often quite dramatic. “As you continue this process observing pain, itching, heat, perspiration, tingling, and many more sensations Gross & Subtle,” wrote a blogger who’d done a 10-day course in Bangalore last year. “You can sense changes happening within and thats what causes the upheaval of the mind. Thoughts flow in abundance – I remembered my class 8 Newtons Laws and all the Trigonometry formulas from Class 11 / 12. Minute details from 30 – 40 years suddenly come in front of you. Sweet memories make you smile and the bad ones bring tears. Fantasies and dreams float by. And you observe and observe quietly,” he said.
It’s unclear if Dorsey’s experience was anything similar, but he joins a long list of tech CEOs who’ve taken a shine to India’s many spiritual offerings. Steve Jobs, most famously, had visited the Kainchi Dham ashram in Uttarakhand in the 1970s to mull over the future of Apple, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had followed suit the early days of his company. Among the other faithful of the temple are Google’s Larry Page and Jeffrey Skoll, co-founder of eBay.
And while Dorsey might have been contemplating the divine during his retreat, his Twitter followers’ concerns were firmly rooted in practicality.
I hope you found clarity regarding Twitter’s bot problem
— curious one 🤓 (@ntragesser) January 1, 2018
ready to add an Edit button, now?
— Jackson Hayes (@jacksonhvisuals) January 1, 2018
I'm currently planning on deleting my account … any enlightenment about getting rid of fascists and the president (who is clearly trying to bypass facts and the media using your tool)?
— Mark Bean (@markbean) January 1, 2018
One can sort of see why he wanted to get away from it all.