Why Be Monastic?

Time and again people ask us, “Why on earth would you want to be monastic?  Are you trying to escape from the world, or what?”

481567479-56a0c46d3df78cafdaa4d775Becoming a monk or a nun is a vocation.  It’s a calling from Divine Spirit to lead a life of prayer, immersion in the dharma teachings of a spiritual pathway, and an opportunity to live in community.  Living in a monastic community means living with people who may, or may not, be your friends, which then creates an opportunity for acceptance and compassion. Monastic community creates a society dedicated to the common purpose of thinking, praying, meditating, working, and living for the benefit of all beings.

True Prayer and meditation is the ability to harness Divine Mind (the One Mind) to declare and know healing, peace, light, harmony, generosity, and compassion for the needs of others.  The monastic life requires hours of focused attention to being awake in the moment.  When we are awake in the moment it’s possible to choose compassion, kindness, generosity, fearlessness, and hope.

suffering.jpg.e0ba387663cfd689d3b50b560c59a3e0Every day billions of humans on this planet are THINKING!  They are thinking into the One Mind of infinite possibilities.  And from all that thinking decisions are made.  It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what the majority of humans are putting into the One Mind, and into action.  We see it in the news, on Facebook, and in the public marketplace.  Anger, hatred, contempt, despair, hopelessness, violence, and domination are the ugly manifestations millions of humans are constantly projecting into One Mind, no wonder the spiritual teachers tell us this world is hell.  No wonder so many are suffering.

Yes, there are good people, kind people, and generous people everywhere!  But even good people are often filled with anger and despair at the state of the world.  Stress and anxiety has been determined to be the number one disease of the 21st century.

Monastics train, daily, hourly, to send thoughts of loving kindness, peace, healing, and compassion into the One Mind generator of action.  It is a life dedicated to creating light in the darkness of world mind.  Throughout the ages humble souls, dedicated souls, sensitive and generous souls have given up the things of the world (money, possessions, power, prestige, family, and relationships) to devote their lives to prayer, meditation, and service to those in need.

Monks and nuns do not run away from the world.  They chose to renounce ordinary life and enter a world of devotion, to become a Bodhisattva in hell.  Perhaps we should honor their courage, their sacrifice, their unremitting determination to free all beings from suffering!

light-in-the-dark-13lviur

Willing To Go Into The Dark

Truth-Himself-Change-It-To-Reality-Final-Cover-FITAOne thing that has to happen on the spiritual path is to take a journey into the dark to find the light of truth, to discover our precious and true self.  There’s a difference between reality and truth.  Reality is what we imagine life is, truth is what life actually is.  Every time something happens we imagine an interpretation of the event and weave that meaning into the story of our lives.

Example- Marlene tried to reach a hospice patient on the phone.  She called three times in a three hour period but couldn’t reach her.  The patient lived alone so Marlene was concerned that she had died and worried about it for many hours.  But when she finally called the same woman later that evening her patient was fine.

So we can see the facts (truth)- a telephone call was made and there was no answer.  Then we see there is an attempt to interpret why the telephone was not answered.  Attempting to figure out why the telephone was not answered is pure imagination.  Reality is created from imaginings while the Truth is created from simple facts with no interpretation.

6627345_origWhat you know to be the truth about you does not need to be interpreted.   To say I have a heart of service does not mean you a good person. It means you have a heart of service. To say- I love people does not mean you are spiritual- it means you love people.  One is truth and the other is an imagination of meaning.  This could also be reversed.  I was angry, therefore, I am a bad person.  I told a lie, therefore, I am not spiritual.  These are imagined interpretations of an emotional state of experience.

When we take a journey into the dark to find the light of truth…we are attempting to find the thing itself not the stories about it.  So as we take the journey of finding our precious self- we will need to work our way past the interpretations and stories into the true purpose of our lives.  This means that we are going to come to new understandings about what it means to be human.  Everyone has an opinion about what it means to be human.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAANrAAAAJDNmNDEyOTQyLWQyZTUtNDdkYy05MjYxLTM2NjA0MjZmY2IzNwExample- At some point we may have experienced betrayal from a loved one, or at least know someone who spoke of betrayal by their partner, friend, or family member.  Once a betrayal occurs there is a tendency to stop believing in love and instead simply wait for everyone we love to betray us. However, having something happen, even many times, does not make a truth- it does not automatically become THE WAY LIFE IS.  Questions need to be asked, how many times has this happened to us or another, once, twice, three times-  was it truly every time in every relationship?  How many people have we known in our lives- was every one of them involved in a betrayal incident with us?  When looked at logically we can see betrayal is not a truth- it is a perception of reality.

Most of what individuals consider truth is a perception of reality.
A perception is formed when we give meaning to certain events
and hold onto that interpretation when making future decisions.

As we proceed to go into the dark to find the light of truth- there will be some ideas that are universally true and some concepts that are only a perception of reality.  For example there is a perception of reality that women who live in cultures where there are multiple wives have a true space of sisterhood.  Or men in other less civilized cultures always work together to help one another.   Neither of these statements are universally true.  These things may be true sometimes and not true at other times.  There is no place on earth where life is always wonderful.  It is universally true that all beings fear violence and death, and seek to be safe and loved.  But how individuals go about seeking these truths might require lengthy journeys into the dark of imagination and interpretation.

There isn’t anything wrong with having thoughts about our lives.  But life could be less filled with suffering if we learn to separate fact from generalizations and storytelling.  Life can be wonderful when we allow our stories to mean less and our true heart experiences to mean more.

Remember we are deeply entrenched in a belief system about perfection.  Most of us are trained into the idea that there is a certain perfected state which we must attain through struggle and hard work.  But as soon as we begin to measure ourselves against some imagined state of perfection we are creating a mental and emotional hell for ourselves and others.

Going into the dark is finding our way out of illusions
and dreams into what is awake and true. 

The-sacred-lifeWe are sacred and life is sacred because it is, not because of what we believe or think about it.  Everything is a unique expression of Great Spirit’s energy.  Some people say that in order to be sacred we must be able to take action.  But a flower is sacred and it is not taking action- it is only being.  What exists can be considered sacred.  It has life- even a flower has life- it has an indwelling spirit.

What makes humans different from other creatures of the earth is discontent.  When we let go of discontent what happens?  Peace.  Joy.  Freedom.  Love.  Harmony.  Humans are capable of discontent but we are not doomed to discontent.

What thoughts are we going to bring into our awareness?  Can we know our holiness of being?  We can share our holiness of being; which does not require us to do anything except be that energy.  When we come into beingness we have found the Light of Truth.

It is important to learn to center ourselves in truth.  Remember that Truth begins with what we know is precious about ourselves.  We are all well trained into pathways of discontent.  If we find something precious within us what will happen if we don’t express it all the time?

We are discontent with ourselves.  When I am full of peace then I am sacred.  When I am full of joy I am sacred.  When I am serving other, when I have a willing heart, when I am offering my gifts…then I am sacred. The rest of the time I am profane, confused, angry, hurt, and unhappy.

unborn_babyWhat if we just are sacred without doing anything?  To rest in each day is important because it is only by going into a place of non-action…into the dark… that we can truly appreciate and find the precious light.

Before we were born we were in the dark.  There was nothing for us to do and we did not understand that we were supposed to be bored and unhappy with our lack of accomplishments.  We just existed.  And for most of us- our experience was- that our mother knew we were precious even though she couldn’t see us, hold us, or do anything for us.  We must go back into the dark womb of Our Divine Mother so that we can find once again remember and find the Light.  There is nothing to do there.  There are no questions to ask

Let us go back into her dark womb and allow ourselves
to be reborn from Divine Mother.  

star-day-mom

Being The Light

Light is always stronger than the darkness.  Our inner darkness wins when we are too afraid to choose from rightness.  Dwelling on failures, anger, betrayal, and challenges creates negativity.  Recognizing these things can be helpful, but exaggerating them and constantly thinking about them is self-indulgent.  Seeing them as compost for the soul allows us to return to being light.

  • Being the light we smile
  • Being the light we laugh
  • Being the light we forgive
  • Being the light we comfort those in need

It is important to remember that duality is a physical reality. There is day and night, cold and hot, soft and hard, etc.  So no matter how dark, ugly, and awful the circumstances of life seems right now – light, beauty, and grace reside on the other side.  Of course to get there we know there is work that must be done in order to make the shift.  Sometimes it is hard, dangerous work that requires all of our courage, endurance, and strength.

BUT- Darkness cannot overcome the light. It can temporarily block it, but it cannot eliminate light. Even a small amount of light, even one candle, dispels the deepest dark.

“Darkness and negativity are never imposed upon you.”

yoga-sunriseGreat Spirit Within
Help me to see what I can do to change
some of the world’s darkness.
Give me the courage to take action
and the wisdom to clearly see
what action to take.

As the sun rises,
I bask in the light of my Holy Spirit Within.
In fullness, may my light bring comfort.
May my laughter lift up hearts.
May I do the work of Love
wherever there is need.

May I learn to appreciate
instead of fear my shadows
and the shadows of others.
For not all shadows are evil.
Help me see that beauty is enhanced
when the world is more than one color.

Today I will practice letting go of fear
And instead look for the blessings
in all of the people, places
and things within my life.