So after biopsy and because of radiation therapy and all that entails, I was very skinny but I carried on doing up my dwelling place and clearing the ground. And regularly I noticed that I was in a state of contemplation.
However, in 2003, the plot thickens and I am in relapse. Physicians exhorted me to choose surgery and chemotherapy: I refused at once.
It’s time to go on by other means. I then did some monastic retreats. I sold my house. I gave my ewes to a shepherd doing organic farming. And at last I settled in the Paris suburb of Chatou.
There, I prefered not to stay idle and I chose to be trained in alternative pedagogy in Steiner-Waldorf schools. Not for teaching later on but to better understand others, this time in interaction with children and teens. I also passed a master in sciences of education at Paris VIII University.
In the meantime, during summer 2004, rather weakened, I decided to dash off to Thailand, further to the invitation of a bodhisattva friend. Out there, at the beginning, tourism and fun but eventually I prefered meditating in a Buddhist monastery perched on a hilltop. Thus, I ended my stay dressed in white and bare footed.
At the year’s end, I finally accepted to undergo a chemo treatment at a rate of one drip a month for two and a half years. During treatment, a frozen helmet was placed on my skull so as to avoid hair loss.
In 2007, here am I at last back on track, the depression over. And rather than taking up a professional activity again and also hesitating between becoming a lay hermit in the mountains or a cloistered Benedictine monk, I in fact decided to pursue studies in the speciality that calls me to mind: religion and faith.
I found the appropriate learning at Louvain-la-Neuve University. I moved to this town and wished to rent a room in a seminary. The agreement was given to me. Therefore I rubbed shoulders with priests, seminarists and various students.
From theology, I slid into anthropology and undertook field researches that enabled me to encounter Catholic hermits and Buddhist hermits. In doing so, in 2013, just before reaching sixty years old, I got my PhD after writing my thesis in a monastery.
And after a few months in Paris, I am once again living in Belgium and moored at the river port of Liège as I live on a motorboat.
As far as my writing is concerned, in January 2016, the editor has published in French the report of my pilgrimage to the Thais Buddhist hermits’ meditation places (see Our books; in the pipeline, translation in English). The descriptive manuscript that relates my encounter with western contemporary Catholic hermits has also been edited in January 2017; the analysis of the overall field data was printed in May 2017. Regarding the Buddhist hermits, the book which explains the methodology and which proposes a thorough data analysis with numerous photos is to be published on June 2019 (See Nos livres).