One more response, if I may, regarding employers and retreats. I have two stories I will keep short.
1. I worked an office job at the American Jewish Committee in Los Angeles, a non-profit organization that involved itself in community dialogue locally. My boss was a rabbi. During my time at this organization, an opportunity came up to go off and do a 90-day zen retreat. There was no way I was getting that kind of time off, but it was time to do it, and so I went into the rabbi's office and told him I was giving my notice. He was stunned, and I explained why. He nodded sadly and said, "That's important to do. We're going to be very sorry to lose you."
Later that day, he called me into his office again. "I have been talking to the national office," he said, "And they have approved unpaid leave. Have a wonderful retreat, and get back here when you can. Your job will be waiting for you."
2. At a different time, I was interviewing for jobs and had an interview with the L.A. chapter of the ACLU for an administrative position. The ACLU is, of course, the American Civil Liberties Union, an organization that defends individual rights and fights various kinds of oppression including religious intolerance in the workplace.
It was very ironic that at this organization -- and ONLY this organization -- I was asked point blank about my past employment with Buddhist organizations, asked about my personal meditation practice, and asked to explain how someone who meditates could keep up with the pace of a busy office. I was stunned; almost wondered if they were testing my mettle. I responded by explaining that meditation *helped* me retain focus and center in busy work environments.
Never got a second interview for that job. ACLU, how about that.