Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saturday At The Monastery

Normally when I visit the monastery it is on a Sunday. Today, however, I altered my normal routine. When I got up this morning it was 13 degrees and dark. As much as I love going to the monastery it's mornings like today when I wonder "Why am I doing this? I don't really have to do it. It is my day off. It's dark and cold outside. My bed is warm and I need more sleep". As soon as these thoughts pass through my brain, I stop listening to the voice in my head and I begin to listen to the voice in my heart. I hop into the shower, get dressed, leave the house, and I get on the highway. Before I get on the road I stop for some hot coffee to warm my hands and accelerate the awakening process. The truth is that I love to get up early and to have a nice solitary drive, especially through the rural area I must pass through on the way to the monastery. Along the way I picked up a friend who needed a ride. It gave us an opportunity to have some conversation that we are usually too rushed to have. Upon our arrival at the monastery we were soon engrossed in conversation with a few folks I had never met before or who I barely knew. These were folks who would like to attend my monthly Sunday gathering but are unable to do so. Like me, they are on an intentional and serious spiritual journey. Part of the reason I regularly go to the monastery is to be with other people who are like me. Of course, in addition to this I am friends with the monks and I am a lover of the physical landscape of the monastery. It is holy ground for me and a source of strength and inspiration. It is my spiritual home.

This is how you should contemplate. The world is an idea in the mind to which the word world has been attached. Beyond this idea is the mystery of beingness. But it's not possible to free people from their attachment to the idea--to that which blinds them to the reality--without appropriate methods. So you should tread the path of perfect giving, of patience, energy, meditation, and wisdom. Yet while following these activities, you should remain aware that the world is illusory. It is for the sake of those who do not know that you engage in dynamic and vigorous work and also in meditation and one-pointed attention. Understanding that without wisdom you can do nothing for others, you remain in the perfection of wisdom, which is the awareness that what you are doing is both essential and illusory.

No comments: