Not demands, but gifts

‘Now that seems like a great job,’ I hear quite often when I drop that ZeeVELD would love to track down a second ‘serving hermit’. To which one then often quickly attaches the question of whether that hermithood can also be filled in a little less strictly. And to have to be available seven days a week, 24 hours a day, for ‘the company’ ZeeVELD…. ‘Maybe something can be found on that?’

As should a field hockey team looking for a new goalie, be happy with candidates who do not see in themselves a goalie and also do not like field hockey.

Recently, our board member Wiek Hijmans received a wonderful review for his CD project “Psalms Electrified. Writes the reviewer, “Hijmans’ sacred music is ( ) distant from that basic misunderstanding which always places the sacred in the sacristy rather than in the hearts of men.

Hear hear! Very nicely said. Only this observation in turn carries a misunderstanding.

However different the manifestation, the foundation of every proven spiritual discipline, from the East as much as from the West, revolves around the same recognition: sure, holiness dwells in our hearts, but between us and that heart is our ego. And unless we hand over the reins of that to outside “sacristies,” rituals or disciplines, that heart will be the dwelling place not only of our sacred, but also of our unholy. And thus a battleground.

‘Make peace not with your friends, but with your enemies,’ it is called. Of course, very often I would rather be out and about than stay within the gates of ZeeVELD. And when I have to re-solve the same simple issue for the umpteenth time – “and that at my age!”- the desire for a daytime activity other than management and operation of a retreat place does manifest itself in me as well.

But as often as this occurs, so often I also recognize an invitation in it. To once again hand over the reins of my ego again. And thus give back to the sacred in me the right to the exclusive habitation of my heart.

The job description of the additional “serving hermit” for ZeeVELD is not a list of requirements, but a collections of gifts.

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