Approximately 35 miles to the northwest of Inverness one finds the only historical monastery in Britain still in use. It is, perhaps more than most places I visit, a truly out of the way place. It was only after three bus rides, the last of which was hitched from a local school bus, that I found myself at the start of the small road that winds its way through the woods.
As I walked, the wind began to rustle and Continue reading
It’s so easy to forget how much of a choice we have in the way we pass our lives here on earth. I just returned from The Abbey d’Orval, known for its world famous beer, but more significantly home to a group of Trappist monks. I had the pleasure of spending some time staying with the monks who live in a style very far removed from the mainstream. They are largely silent, attend church five times a day and work hard in order to give money away and not hoard it up.
For many people, whose childhoods are filled with unpleasant memories of forced Sunday school and self righteous teachers, this probably sounds miserable, but that couldn’t be more far from my experience this past week. Every single monk I met smiled regularly and seemed filled with joy. I was never asked about my beliefs, never forced to go to church or even asked why I had come there. There were no lectures, no recriminations, no hints nor requests. Only people living in contemplative silence and sharing an example of what they find to be a better way to live.
I’ve spent the last several days trying to decide what I would write about my experience at the monastery, but was reminded of my experience on the Camino de Santiago and how inadequate words are for expressing life’s more profound experiences. In the end, I can only say I was reminded of how little in our lives is unchangeable and how misplaced our priorities can become. Still in the end, I think it’s better that I save the lecture and try to focus on living a life I find meaningful…