A Visit from Heck

A strange, unexpected visitor has just passed through the Zen Center. What a weird “visit” it was, more an intrusion, of a desperate soul flailing as it struggles to wake up to the hell of its life. The person came grasping somehow towards me, or in this direction, without any sense of this practice or what or even why I am still practicing and teaching.

Whew! If that energy — the meanness, the arrogance and aggression towards common service staff that we encountered during this man’s visit — were to display itself again here, in this beautiful little town, I would be hard-pressed to ask the guest to leave.

To come from such a great distance to visit a long-term meditator, and then to be so thoughtlessly unkind to the local staff who serve you both in a public restaurant while you enquire about “dharma”, in a small town which is home to the monk you have made this sudden abrupt visit to, is just one of the weirdest things. 🙏🏼

Coaster was the Visitor’s choice.

But hosting guests is part of the job. And I did what was possible to make soberly clear to this weird interloper that harmony in common-space retreats, first, are required for “living” here. And at the end, the person seemed grateful for the meeting, whatever small tiny piece was left over in her tight schedule, to have any dialogue about the point of this monk and this quiet space. Maybe an impression was made, who knows?

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