The Everyday Monastic
When someone asks me to describe monasticism, it often leads with some joke about chastity and if my wife is ok with no longer being able to shack it up. For whatever reason, being committed to a transformative journey seems to be equated with needing to be reclusive and a commitment to chastity.
This sort of thinking has warped monasticism to seem foreign, out of date and completely unattainable for the everyday person. In reality, we can find everyday monastics in our offices, department stores, the barista who made our coffee, the farmer who grew our food, you get the idea.
The everyday monastic is committed to spiritual practices that inspire them to live more deliberately in the world. This is accompanied by a life of simplicity, also known as minimalism. What she wears, purchases, uses and where her time is spent is done so intentionally. It is important to note here that everyday monastics are not deprivationists, they are intentionalists. However, temporary deprivation can help someone discover what is truly essential and value adding. This creates the opportunity for her to say yes to commitments in line with the values located in her vows.
Monastic living can lead to studied practices and a mindfulness in purchases, recycling, care for the environment and service to others. The focus is living in the world the way it should be rather than the way it is.
The vows I have taken are rooted in a desire to live in the world the way it should be, rather than how others think it is. I will be writing subsequent essays to expand on these vows along with the steps I will continue to take to ensure that I uphold them in my life.
- I vow to actualize and live according to my full moral and ethical capacity
- I vow to live in and seek unity with the cosmos and its inhabitants.
- I vow to live a non-violent life.
- I vow to live in simplicity.
- I vow to live a life of compassion and service toward all creation.
- I vow to be a prophetic voice for the voiceless and work for justice and the transformation of the world.
- I vow to cultivate mature self-knowledge.
- I vow to take part in daily spiritual practices.
(These vows are based on those in a book called New Monasticism: An Interspiritual Manifesto for Contemplative Life by Rory McEntee and Adam Bucko. These two men (who I have not met) have helped shape my understanding of living a more contemplative and meaningful life.)