During the Lenten season, a time for silence and reflection, we turn inward in order to draw nearer to both ourselves and to God. This too is the purpose of pilgrimage: to travel—whether outwardly or inwardly—in order to grow closer to the divine, the fundamental, the real; and in so doing, to grow closer to ourselves. To see ourselves anew. But this is not an easy journey. As the Old French term for “travel” says, travail means “to toil, to labor.” So to travel as a pilgrim demands that we leave the comfort of the known and the familiar in order to explore uncharted territory. It requires that we move courageously toward the very depths of our being, to the heart of what makes us human. For this reason, it is also a bonum arduum—an “arduous good,” as an Anglican brother called it. It transforms us in ways we never could have imagined or predicted, but which undoubtedly brings us closer to who we really are.
Join us for this retreat in which we’ll explore prayer, meditation, study, and other contemplative practices from the Christian and Buddhist traditions—including the silent meal ceremony called oryoki—in the spirit of the inner journey. We’ll follow the rhythm of Holy Cross’s monastic schedule, weaving our way through periods of silence and introspection, as well as reflection and discussion. In the end, the purpose of pilgrimage is to see, that at the end of a long journey, we’ve returned to the home that we never actually left.
Vanessa Zuisei Goddard Sensei is a lay Zen Buddhist teacher in the Mountains and Rivers Order (MRO). Zuisei Sensei lived and worked at Zen Mountain Monastery from 1995 to 2014, and was an ordained monastic for fourteen of those years. In 2018 she received dharma transmission (authorization to teach) from Geoffrey Shugen Arnold Roshi, head of the MRO and abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery. Zuisei is currently living in New York city, where she is working on a book about faith, belief, and contemplation, and continuing her own spiritual development through the study of contemplative practices like centering prayer. Her first book, Still Running: The Art of Meditation in Motion, will be published by Shambhala Publications in the late summer of 2020. She can be found at vanessazuiseigoddard.org.