Welcome to the on-line home of Hermitage Heart. You will find reflected here a commitment to keeping alive a spiritual life that is fresh and vital. Hermitage Heart nurtures a radical possibility: that each one of us is called to respond to the poignant and complex suffering of this period of history, and each one of us is, likewise, fully capable of living with the natural ease that is every being's birth right. This is the clarity of a realized human life, and the practice of Hermitage Heart.
The motif of the hermitage, the small hut of sufficiency, points to the place where we return again and again to face our heart-mind in the barest of ways. Hermitage Heart's actual physical hermitage is in Garrison, New York, and is located in the community's historic gristmill. As teacher, I study, write and see Zen students at the Mill, hold small retreats and lead meditation with a local group, and conduct some of the liturgies associated with one of our primary practices, the 108 Bowl Water Mala.
From every direction, Gristmill Hermitage is permeated by the sound of water: a waterfall we call the Little Niagra is loud as you arrive, the stream then falls from the mill pond into a curving hug over rocks to a second small set of falls. When the large door to the second floor zendo is opened, it sounds as if meditation is taking place midstream. The zendo also overlooks the large millstones that once transformed the community's raw grain into flour, and still serve as a steady reminder that everything and everyone is necessary to the work at hand. Set down what you've brought to be ground, be as you are, and the water begins to turn the wheel.
Let the practice and teaching here support you in this: the hermitage is yours, and it has everything needed. There is a bowl waiting for you. Good company when and if you need it. Know it is appropriate to rest when weary, and that your offering is exactly what everyone has been waiting for. Welcome home.