I’ve caught myself telling casual acquaintances that I once smoked crack. “It was offered to me, and so I said, ‘why not?'” I don’t know why I tell people that. I get some weird satisfaction from their horrified look of disbelief. I come across as pretty straight. My girlfriend can’t comprehend that the same person who won’t walk through a park where it says “keep off the grass,” once stripped naked on public access television while blackout drunk.
As much as I love shock value, I almost never tell people that I once willingly drank my own pee for its purported spiritual and health benefits…
It was the winter of 2009. I had recently returned to Seattle after my first experiment in renunciation and subsequent encounter with Christ while living homeless in Oregon. It was about 6 months before I moved to Maui to serve Ram Dass. I knew that I needed to open my heart more, so I landed a job working as a residential counselor for at-risk youth at a non-profit group home. I had recently completed a 10-day silent Vipassanna meditation retreat and was adamantly sitting an hour every night and every morning. I had heard about monks in the Himalayas meditating naked in the snow and so I tried it on a few occasions in our back yard, never for more than 20 minutes at a time, but for some strange reason it made me feel like I was on the fast track to enlightenment. I was going to the nearby Hare Krishna restaurant and making friends there. I was dumpster diving for food, eating vegan and practicing Reiki. I held a spoon-bending party at our home, and I did the 10-day master cleanse. I played with Tarot cards, saw psychics, and even organized a failed attempt at using a Quija Board.
I was your classic spiritual hipster, and like any other spiritual hipster, I would have become angry and defensive if you had tried to label me as such.
Always looking for the next “thing,” I was intrigued when one of my closest friends informed me that several of the monks at the Hare Krishna Temple were practicing “urine therapy.” They all raved about the effects, and that was enough for us to give it a try.