Monk In The World

To be a monk is to have time to practice for your transformation and healing. And after that to help with the transformation and healing of other people.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, August 30, 2015


Lawrence Freeman, in his book Jesus, The Teacher Within, addresses throughout this book the question of Jesus to his disciples:

Who Do You Say I Am?

Early in this reading Freeman remembers some of his own teacher's thoughts (Father John Main) about the importance of "questions" vs "answers" saying:

We have reached the point, John Main believes, where we do not need more answers, instant diagnoses and solutions. We need to relearn how to listen, humbly and profoundly, to the redemptive questions.

Freeman, Lawrence (2011-09-05). Jesus the Teacher Within (Kindle Locations 312-314). Hymns Ancient and Modern Ltd. Kindle Edition. 

When is the last time you googled the right question instead of googling the right answer?

What are the redemptive questions for our lives?


Friday, August 28, 2015


The absurdity of certitude is life’s most seriously damaging narcotic. It accuses us of our shallowness and hollows out the soul. Doubt is uncomfortable, yes, but doubt always leads us beyond the present moment to the kind of moments that call us to greater truth, deeper wisdom and a more adult measure of the self.

Chittister, Joan (2015-02-24). Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life (p. 154). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015



Go Dawgs!

Knit one and Purl Two!

The question haunts us from dawn to dusk, from night to day. Exactly what is a woman? What is a man? Or better yet, what is a “real woman” and a “real man”? And whatever the answers, how do we show it? The issues that characterize this problem of identity are more than simple scientific ones. They are socially cataclysmic. Everywhere children learn young that invisible social barriers separate them from the fullness of themselves. Males— boys, in particular, who do not epitomize definitions of the manly man— who suppresses emotion, exudes physical prowess, and emphasizes sexual conquest— are excluded from contemporary social life for reasons far beyond their control. They are small boys who play with dolls— and are laughed at for doing it. They are young male teenagers who prefer to learn to knit or dance or sing rather than be athletes and so are hounded to an early grave because of it. They are grown men hiding the truth of their sexual identity from their mothers who want them to get married and produce grandchildren. Or they are young males hiding their softness from fathers who want them to drink hard and kill animals, rather than write poetry or join the local theater group. They are men who learn to feel diminished by doing “women’s work” like babysitting or child care. They are grown men who grow up full of self-hatred for not being muscle-bound and autocratic, loud and overpowering of others, sure of themselves, demeaning of others, rough and tough and controlling. They are men with sensitive hearts who love to hold their children, who kiss their sons and teach them to cook, who encourage their daughters to greatness, who have no expectations of being waited upon by women who have full lives of their own to live. And yet they spend their lives questioning their identity to the point that the questions themselves are madness-making. Only when we all come to the point where “masculinity” can claim for itself the kind of feminine freedoms to love and cry and care which the psychologist Carl Jung speaks about can men become the fullness of the real man they are meant to be. It can only happen when the rest of us begin to realize that the questions we’ve been asking about what it means to be a fully developed person are themselves wrong. The great question of life is not so much, What is it to be masculine or what is it to be feminine? The great question of life is, What is it to be human? Then, the humanity of all of us will be safe. Then the humanization of the human race will really be possible.

Chittister, Joan (2015-02-24). Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life (p. 100). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Friday, August 21, 2015



When in the soul of the serene disciple
With no more Fathers to imitate
Poverty is a success,
It is a small thing to say the roof is gone:
He has not even a house.

Stars, as well as friends,
Are angry with the noble ruin.
Saints depart in several directions.

Be still:
There is no longer any need of comment.
It was a lucky wind
That blew away his halo with his cares,
A lucky sea that drowned his reputation.

Here you will find
Neither a proverb nor a memorandum.
There are no ways,
No methods to admire
Where poverty is no achievement.
His God lives in his emptiness like an affliction.

What choice remains?
Well, to be ordinary is not a choice:
It is the usual freedom
Of men without visions.

Is this not realizing Ordinary Mind?


Sunday, August 16, 2015


From John Armstrong’s     How To Worry Less About Money

Money can purchase the symbols but not 

the causes of serenity and buoyancy. In a 

straightforward way we must agree that 

money cannot buy happiness.


A good life is still a life. It must involve a full share of 


loneliness, disappointment and coming to terms with 

one’s own mortality 

and the deaths of those one loves. To live a life that is 

good as a life 

involves all this.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Where Are You Going and Why? STOP!

Sister Joan Continued...


The nice thing about the human body is that it wears out. It wears down. It can, as the Rule of Benedict says in chapter 64, be “overdriven.” To be more precise, the Rule is talking about the abbot or prioress in the chapter when it says, “They must so arrange everything that the strong have something to yearn for and the weak nothing to run from.” The point is clear: Good leadership does not ask more of the worker than the worker is capable of doing. Whatever happened to that kind of wisdom? And how much further can we possibly go unless we rediscover the value of such an insight? The really interesting aspect of such an ancient directive is that it was written in the sixth century, before lightbulbs, before humanity could do little or anything about extending the day into the night and veritably erasing the difference between the two. In those days, when the sun went down, people went to bed. “Make hay while the sun shines,” the farmers said— and for good reason— since there was surely no way to make it otherwise. Days were measured from sunup to sundown. They were not divided into shifts. Darkness covered the earth and with it came silence, and rest, and recuperation time in preparation for the day to come. It was a far cry from a world in which the Internet links the ends of the earth twenty-four hours a day. 

Before the Industrial Revolution engines did not continue to pound out bottle caps long after most workers went home for supper. Trucks did not race on in a mad dash to link the world’s cities so that packages of widgets would be delivered in twenty-four hours and modernity could triumph. The writing did not go on late into the night. The offices did not stay open. The problem solving did not continue. The schoolwork did not begin after the parties ended. Yesterday’s work did not get done in the middle of the night so that tomorrow’s work could start again in five more hours. And human beings were not taking sedatives to cope with stress or drugs to calm down. The medical community was not warning people about the effects of sleep deprivation. And surgeons were not beginning another operation at the end of an eighteen-hour day.

We drive ourselves relentlessly from one exhaustion to another. We pace our societies by the pace of our computers. We conduct the major relationships of our lives— both professional and personal— according to the speed of our communications. We measure ourselves by the amount of our productivity and every day we become more exhausted, less rested in body, spirit and mind, and so less capable of producing things, let alone of developing relationships, as a result. That’s not irony, that’s tragedy. And though we know it, we do not know what to do about it. Now the question is a simple one: Are the ancient insights only that: ancient? Or are they wisdom because they have been carried down to every generation and found to be true?

Chittister, Joan (2015-02-24). Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life (pp. 72-73). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. 

Don't Give Your Soul To An Institution!


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Cllutter Clouds Our Vision, We Can't See What Matters

To have everything is to have nothing. Overwhelmed by quantity we lose all awareness of life crystallized into small pieces of joy and insight and gratitude. It is the death of the soul.

Chittister, Joan (2015-02-24). Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life (pp. 52-53). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.