OlioHouse | Considering The Tyranny of Choice

'Nirantar' - S.H Raza

Considering the Tyranny of Choice: What the Tao and Zen Teach us about Our Addiction for Control

Join us up at OlioHouse for a weekend exploring what it means to take on a spiritual outlook. Is there some kind of unity which binds different religions?  And if so how do we learn about that without all the other baggage that often accompanies organized religion?  We will spend time together looking into some spiritual movements taking place right now as well as ancient practices and see what value we find in these messages. If we do see value, are there changes that need to be made to face our current society in a spiritual way? Or are these messages timeless, able to speak to any situation?

We will consider how choosing to live from this perspective, being deeply “spiritual” in our outlook, does not preclude being deeply and meaningfully involved in the world.  This is NOT about asceticism, turning away from the material world, but rather, it’s about freeing ourselves from the burden of ego and personality so that we can more deeply and honestly be a part of the world.  

This is not about losing our identity or merging into some mystical oneness. This is not about detaching from the world of form. It is about changing our default perspective from one of separateness to one of connectedness.  It is about finding a balance between the useful power of ego and personality and the stillness of spirit.  

We begin by accepting non-judgmentally that something is off; that our priorities, of the mind, of the heart and in the world are skewed; that we live in a world with too much dominance and not enough acceptance, too much Yang and not enough Yin. 

A word from Michael Haltenberger:

I’d say striving to be happy is NOT the point. We didn’t evolve to be happy. I don’t think we evolved FOR any particular reason other than to perpetuate life. On the other hand, we can choose to find joy in that vacuum, in the empty space where we wish there were some sort of meaning. All it really takes is a change of perspective and giving up on trying to understand, on needing to be right.  To live without judgment, with acceptance, is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Lazy, smart, dumb, good, bad are all just thoughts.  We can choose to believe them or we can be free.

**OPTIONAL** For an additional $30, you can join an expert chef and forager on a mushroom hunt on Sunday afternoon. Includes a woodfired pizza lunch with the mushrooms we find.

Schedule of the weekend:


2pm: Arrive to a communal lunch.

3pm: Intro conversation: Accepting without judgment that we are unbalanced, that we don’t really understand what is important in life, that we are all a bit nuts and miserable :) 

Exploring some of the ideas of Tolle, Sadhguru and Mooji.  

Define some keywords: Thought, Ego, Personality, “I”, Mind vs Self, Being, Raw Awareness.

Hand out compassion cards

5pm: Free time to explore Wassaic and hike, swim, or hang out around OlioHouse

7pm: Dinner at The Lantern


10am: Start with guided with a meditation

Olio on the Tyranny of choice

A couple of short videos and conversation  

12:30pm: Light lunch and conversations about Compassion Cards

Closing Conversation  

2:15pm: Return train to Grand Central.

Location: OlioHouse | Wassaic, NY

296 Old Rte 22, Wassaic, NY 12592

This is our gorgeous home up in Wassaic, NY. We hold weekend seminars and welcome members of our scenius for creative residencies and projects. It is located less than a 20 min walk from the Metro North station in Wassaic and 2 hours from Grand Central. We are the proud neighbors of the Wassaic Project.

Interdisciplinary Learning with the Best Professors

Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.

Learn about joining the Scenius for $10 / month

Other upcoming Olios

Nov 22


Taught by Vishwa Adluri
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Nov 26

Kafka’s Very Short Stories: A Phantasmagoria of Loss and Destruction

Taught by Geoff Klock
7:30 p.m. at Strong Rope Brewery

Sign Up - $15

Dec 6

Rolling in the Deep: Carl Jung and the Creative Subconscious

Taught by Michael Prettyman
7:30 p.m. at St John's Episcopal Church

Sign Up - $20

Dec 9

Yin-Yang, Stress, & the Western Mind

Taught by Darryl Aiken-Afam
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Dec 12

The Meta-Olio Party | Why Philosophy?

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7:30 p.m. at Nowhere Studios

Sign Up - $20

Dec 19

The Art of Dying, The Act of Grieving

Taught by Jamie Warren
7:30 p.m. at Work Heights - Electric

Sign Up - $15

Find out when we launch new classes!