Friday, March 14, 2008

The Rule Of St Benedict And Balance

One of the distinguishing characteristics of the monastic life is it's balanced schedule. It is based on the Rule of St Benedict. Benedict was a 6th century man with great skill in organization. At that time in history many who called themselves monks were disorganized and, in some cases, running amok. Benedict's rule organized the monks of western Europe, saved civilization in the dark ages, and is still used today in modern monasteries. What does it have to teach modern man? Well, if the whole rule had to be summarized into one word, that word might be balance. Most everyday stress is caused by lives that are out of balance. Depending on the day we might have too much work, too many deadlines, too many expectations, limited resources, or too little time. It is for every individual to decide which of these problems, and the many I have not listed, applies to them. One of the ways I try to have balance in my life is to have realistic expectations about what I can or cannot accomplish in a limited amount of time. I try to always have my Zen approach to work. I focus on one thing at a time as best I can. I try to complete one project before moving on to another. Rome wasn't built in a day and most problems don't occur overnight, so it's not likely that every problem can be fixed immediately or even in one day. Working in a focused manner and striving for balance in one's life goes a long way towards have some peace of mind and less stress. Modern men and women need to relax and breathe. We all can't be supermen and superwomen everyday. At this stage of my life I do not even pretend to be a superman. There's only so much a normal human being can do. Life is not a race. Relax, focus, seek balance, try to stay on one task at a time, set a course and stay with it. Some days the wind will be in your sails and other days you may have to paddle but if you follow your Zen compass, you will reach your destination

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