Last weekend I sat in the middle of more than a dozen newcomers who participated in the Beginner’s Mind retreat at my Zen Center, and it was a remarkably powerful experience. Powerful because it always is. Remarkable because attracting more than a dozen people out of the drunken sunshine of a lazy LA Sunday to practice eight hours of silent self-discipline is a miracle. A miracle, I tell you.
Now it’s nothing much to boast about compared to what they’re calling America’s most popular church, the church of Be as Rich as God Wants You to Be.
And it’s a pittance compared to the self-styled gospel worshipped at the altar of Be as Rich as You Think You Should Be.
But it is a miracle in the plain and ordinary church that I frequent, the church where, invite as we might, many are called and stubbornly few ever choose to step even one foot inside, the church of Be.
Sitting there all day in this simmering brew of effort, willingness, endurance, open-mindedness and sincerity, sitting with strangers in a slow bake of solidarity and mutual encouragement, percolating in the intimacy and acceptance of a shared experience, I was overwhelmed with delight and gratitude. When it was over, we all left on weightless wings, sailing on gusts of freshness, into the lives we had, only eight hours earlier, been desperate to leave behind.
Truly, miraculously, we raise the dead.
Please come next time. There is always a next time, and there is always room for you.