Monastery Musings

No phone.
No camera.
A yearning for peace and quiet and minimal human interaction.
A different setting.
Nature.
Fresh air.
Enlightenment.

I’ve been meaning to visit these monastic grounds for almost two years now, and for some reason have managed to put it off for this long.

I left my phone and refrained from taking pictures, because I want to encourage people to use their imaginations and if they will to go visit this place themselves. Most of you reading this, live in driving distance from it, no excuse. We are a generation that is satisfied from vicariously living through Facebook friends and Instagram pictures. And that’s why most of us are depressed. We have no purpose and no physical labor to do daily. I don’t know to this day my grandmother ever complaining of depression. She was always digging in her garden (literally and figuratively speaking).

What impressed me most was their self sustenance.

A quote that stuck out from the museum was a monk describing how he was assigned to sew. He said “But I have no idea how”, to which another monk said, “but you can learn”. Arriving at his work station, he was hoping Father (don’t remember the name) would show him how to use the machine….but all he said to the young monk “the machine is over there”. And he learned, 25 years later he’s still doing it. The wonderful thing is that we don’t always know how to do something but God gave us a mind to figure it out.
I loved this.

All the thoughts that rushed through my mind after an overwhelmingly spiritual day, as I was driving out of the grounds yesterday, had unfortunately now dissipated in my busy mind, so what I say to you now is nowhere as eloquent or as spiritually enlightening as it sounded in my mind last evening.

I truly felt refreshed, from the pine trees, the fresh air, and what must have been just really good energy. It just felt good being there. There’s no better way I can explain this.

I enjoyed skimming through their book collection, from which I purchased 4 books and spent almost a hundred bucks (the spiritual journey is worth it). They have an impressive collection of little goodies they sell that they make in the monastery, nifty gifts and yummy snacks. I treated myself to a delicious Charleston tea and an organic gluten-free carrot, spinach, squash cupcake, which was so good on it’s own it needed no icing.

Having seen the video of how the monks came to be on those grounds, and what their daily life was like, I enjoyed a nice chat with the lady at the visitor center, who reminded me of an aunt back in Russia, I walked through some interesting history tidbits scattered in the center, and checked out their bonsai tree collection, which I also knew nothing about.
Having dropped off all my purchases in the car, I set out for short walk to the monastery. The gift shop and bakery close at 4:30, but the grounds and the monastery are open until 8, and anyone is welcome to either join them in prayer or observe in silence one of their many prayers through out the day.
They also have various weekend retreats, concentrating on a specific subject matter, or un participatory which one can use for quiet time.
I’m super excited about the latter since I’ve wanted to do some sort of meditation retreat. And although this may not be as long as I would like it to be, it’s very affordable and “pretty much right around the corner” from my house.
The grounds overlook a lake filled with confrontational geese, and many acres encompassing the monastery and stretching way further out miles and miles out, a nice bike or run path, included. Squee! I’m going running!
A thick forest of pines surround the place and the running path.
I was reminded just how much I’ve missed walking outside in nature; how the smell of trees is uplifting, refreshing, reenergizing. If you need an uplift, get outside (away from cars).

So what I left with is: we must go do things, too much time contemplating is no good and neither is no time contemplating
Much can be learned from the lives of the monks, they have time for prayer, contemplation, daily labor and eating. They don’t just sit around and pray all day. That defeats the purpose. If you are one to pray, use that to focus your mind, but don’t just pray about everything without any doing.

I’m excited about reading the 4 books, savoring the monk-made almond butter, and looking forward to going back to perhaps read, be in a quiet place, or going running and most importantly re-focusing my mind.

I must have left with a bit of the Holy Spirit from there, because I felt a light surround me, and I kid you not, received three different compliments shortly thereafter. I’m not a believer of coincidences. 🙂
I felt Light, I was Light, and I knew and know and perhaps always known in my heart that this is the Light I am meant to share with the world, freely. It is not to be hoarded by someone, and not to be forced out of me, but it’s there, if I can savor it, harbor it and grow it, all will be right with my world. And if every one of us digs deep to find that light within, all will be right with our world.

Go check out the monastery, or some other holy place close to you. I’m sure you won’t regret it.

http://www.trappist.net

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