Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cow Barn Spirituality

I always try to be totally honest in my writing. The stories I tell are true and I believe in the things I write about. I do try to practice what I preach. However, the values and ideas that I write about do not come easily to me. I struggle as much as anyone. Some days my goals are no more lofty than just getting through the day and getting back home. I am not always living in the Zen aura that some people imagine surrounds my being. Some days I am tired and tired of it. Some days I am bored. Some days I am just trying to fill an emptiness that is within me.  Thinking of this reminded me of my distant past. When I was a very young novice living in a monastery one of the older monks caught me reading “The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross”.  St. John of the Cross was a 16th century Spanish mystic. The older monk looked at me and said, “Brother Dominic, you can learn more about spirituality by working in the cow barn”. Let me tell you something about dairy cows. They generate a lot more than milk. I did end up working in the cow barn and I learned a lot from the experience. Life can often feel like you are working a cow barn all the time and all you can see is manure. The cow barn, however, was also full of life. Often in life we get overwhelmed with the manure and we think that’s all there is. Manure, however, is also fertilizer. At the monastery we gathered the manure and spread it in the surrounding fields. When these fields were ready to be harvested, they were a thing of beauty. There will be days when my Zen aura is replaced with the aroma of manure, but it’s all part of the cycle of life. Life can still be beautiful even when you are standing in manure.

1 comment:

Hermit of Bardstown said...

Really superb entry, Michael.