zenju-blanche2Zenkei Blanche Hartman, standing to my right, ordained me September 20, 2008.

Since ordination I have been contemplating how not to be a priest while being one.  The “being one” part has to do with my letting family and friends know that I have committed myself to a spiritual life.  That does not exclusively mean Zen Buddhism.  My spiritual life is integrated with the teachings that come to me in my dreams, teachings from indigenous African and Native American cultures.  Teachings that come from the mouths of children and the begging of a homeless person on the street.  So, on September 20th of this year, I opened the container of myself to a vastness that cannot be measured.

The “not being a priest” has to do with not being caught up with being somebody more special than others.  I am as ordinary as the dew on a cold morning.  And mind you, ordinary is beautiful.  Ordinary is peaceful and restful.  When I sit silently in meditation the tears begin to fall and that is when I am ordinary, like any other living being.  I cry even more so that I can remember the mundane of just catching one’s breath.

photo by David Haye