What to Expect at AHZM


  • Silence and Schedule. Please review the daily schedule. All residents are expected to follow the schedule completely. We will remain in silence during all meals, using functional speech during work periods, and speaking mindfully during personal time.
  • Dietary Needs and Caffeine. It is our practice to accept the food offered by the kitchen. If you have special dietary needs besides those listed on your application, or need to use the kitchen, speak with the Tenzo (Head Cook). Please discern personal food preferences from health requirements. Do not take food from the kitchen or storage areas without permission from the Tenzo. We do not serve coffee, though we do serve many varieties of tea.
  • Storage. Storage space at Ancestral Heart is limited. Please only bring what you require beyond the basic furnishings that will be provided. Do not bring pets. Take all your belongings with you when you leave. We are not responsible for anything left behind.
  • Electronics. We store laptops, phones, and other electronics in a common area outside our bedrooms in order to limit access to them. Note: there is limited cellular service in the area.
  • Dogs. Two small, hypoallergenic, lowchen dogs, Molly and Milo, practice in this space with us.

The Land

AHZM sits next to a state forest and several miles of hiking trails. The afternoon exercise period and off-schedule days are a wonderful time to explore the forests, streams, and mountains of the Taconics. During the summer months, you have the option to swim in one of the nearby ponds. There are many more hiking trails, as well as ski slopes, a short drive away. We encourage everyone to make contact with the land. Please pack and dress accordingly (see below), and when you arrive, feel free to speak to one of the residents about these natural offerings.

What to Bring

  • Appropriate zendo attire (muted colors, preferably black, loose-fitting clothes that cover shoulders and knees, no shorts or tanktops)
  • Flip flops or any shoes that are easy to slip on and off (you may have to wear shoes to access the bathroom from your room)
  • Kitchen shoes: clogs, crocs and other hard-topped slip-on shoes are best (you can simply wash the soles of shoes you already own)
  • Dharma book (for study period)
  • Hiking shoes/walking shoes
  • Toiletries
  • Notebook/pen
  • Raincoat or umbrella
  • Earplugs (in case of snoring)
  • Alarm clock

During Warmer Months

  • Swimsuit
  • Hat with brim
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Non-toxic insect repellent

Note: ticks are common in this area, and can be a source of Lyme and other diseases. If you plan on hiking, please bring long pants and long, light-colored socks. Plan to do daily tick checks.

During Colder Months

  • Warm hat
  • Gloves
  • Warm coat
  • Long underwear

Our Neighbors

We’re grateful to be neighbors with several organizations working at the intersection of liberation and living with the land. These include: