The gateway into knowing who we are as human beings and why we are here and what our tasks are, is through the things under our noses and in our hearts. We miss our lives because our moments are so familiar that we do not notice their power and true effect.

People have become enlightened through a vast array of things that can happen to anyone—seeing peach blossoms, hearing a song, or a train whistle, giving birth, watching field mice running in the grass.

It doesn’t matter if events are small or large, each thing contains the galaxies, and black holes, and the mysterious source of us all.

Each piece of life is a mirror; when we look into it, we see our own face and we see that the galaxies and the field mice are equal.

In this retreat we’ll look at stories, koans and poems about the intimate moments of life, about how the small, true things give us a joy that is hard to describe or even contain. We’ll consider and perhaps reconsider our own stories about what is possible.

– John Tarrant

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About Open Mind Retreats

Pacific Zen Institute’s Open Mind retreats come out of our impulse to make a Zen meditation retreat that is native to American culture and helpful in our lives. When we take away the barriers to understanding, things just naturally shine.

This residential retreat is held in a beautiful place on the ocean. It has a simple feel, and wonderful food prepared by the Commonweal caterers.

There will be sitting together, koans, teachings, poetry, conversation.

There will be time for writing and drawing and walking by the sea and under the cypress trees with the sound of waves and seals and whales to keep us company. We will make discoveries and our lives will open. No particular background in spiritual practice is required.

This retreat usually fills up early.

Comments from Open Mind Participants

Registrar: Sacha Kawaichi –

Art: Mayumi Oda, “Flowers For Honey,” 1980

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