How Now, Dr. Cow?

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

The German paper Frankfurter Rundschau has an amusing article up now. It’s about something Dutch, but, strangely, I was not able to find coverage in any of the Dutch papers: Managers meditate with cows.

Sound strange to you, too? Reading the piece, one keeps searching for some sign that this is all satire, some big joke – but in vain. The firmest conclusion I can draw instead is that the author (unnamed; or maybe the entire FR editorial board) is under threat of blackmail to one Corné de Regt, who according to this article offers “the unique experience of the farm and cow-stall” as a means of reinvigorating burned-out business managers. At €900 a head, the rehabilitation sessions at his farm in the Dutch countryside can be individually-tailored to some degree, but are all based around a core of intense communal meditation sessions on the straw in the outbuildings. No laptops, no mobile telephones allowed – the only interruptions are contributed from the cows peacefully cohabiting the same space.

“In the final analysis,” De Regt claims, “all senses are stimulated in the cow-stall through meditation with the animals.” That includes most especially the sense of smell; as it turns out, De Regt often gets complaints from his city-slicker clients about the stink in there, but waves them off: that’s an integral part of the whole meditation process.

The doughty Dutch farmer also dismisses out of hand accusations he sometime hears that he is simply running a big swindle. On the contrary, his cow-seminars are “very popular,” and he spent years formulating the concept, inspired along the way by Goethe and by the Chinese concepts of Yin and Yang, of finding an opposite and reconciling with it to attain true inner harmony. And for those who can’t seem to locate that “inner me” even after several cow-sessions, De Regt’s has a Plan B: he sends them outside with an axe to chop some wood, and when finished with that to run to a near-by stream, strip, and plunge in to cool off. “Very refreshing!” enthuses the cow-guru.

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