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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Be Alone. Be Still. Be Thoughtful. -Life at a Monastery

“The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” -1 Kings 19:1-12

“When things get hard, the inclination is to do more. Work more hours. Demand more from others. In the short term, it feels great. Your brain rewards you for “doing more.” But when you look back, you’ll find you accomplished less. Instead, focus on addition by subtraction. Spend more time thinking, and less time doing. Be still. Be alone. Be thoughtful.”
                -Brent Beshore, 13 Little Things You're Doing to Sabotage Your Success

Life at the monastery is quite de-stimulating. In the words of a recent guest, “this is the perfect place to come and become human again” (I love that description). Words do not fully convey the experience, although this *might* give you some insight:

If you hear church bells, it’s time for one of the prayer services. All guests are more than welcome, none are required.
Monastery Chapel

I’m particularly fond of noonday prayer, which entails 20 minutes of complete silence. It is a refreshing way to ‘give in to God’ and let yourself simply Be.

Quick highlight of the services:
6am -Vigils. An opening prayer followed by reading the appointed psalms and other passages.
8am -Lauds/Eucharist. Chanting of psalms, followed by communion.
12 -Noonday Prayer
5:30pm -Evening Prayer. Chanting of psalms and listening to the appointed readings.
7:15pm -Compline. Mostly sung, using the same familiar words found in compline across the globe. 

Come Sunday, the services are replaced by 6am sung vigils, 9am Eucharist, and 4:30pm Evening Prayer.

Come Monday, there are no prayer services at all. This is a day of rest for the community.

I’ve said it before: The monastery is beautiful. Walking around affords you the following views:
Walking to the new labyrinth

Top of the property

Main entrance

Back porch of a guest house

Simply being here encourages you to be at peace.

I recommend you visit and experience firsthand what pictures only hint at. Until then, I hope you have enjoyed glimpsing into this peace-inducing lifestyle :)

“Our first task in approaching another people, another culture, another religion, is to take off our shoes. The place we are approaching is holy. Or else we find ourselves treading on men’s dreams. More, we may forget that God was here before our arrival.” -Clark Pinnock, Set Forth Your Case

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Cameron, what a place! In yoga, too, many of the teachings encourage get quiet first, then you can truly BE and hear your truth.