Monday, July 31, 2017
In the monastery where I spend the summer, the monks live by the "Rule of St. Benedict." What is it about his rule that can apply to all of us. He believed in moderation over against rigorous asceticism and self-denial punishing the body. He focused not on the externals, but on the internals, not the flesh/body, but the will. He focused on you not being the center of the universe which in his rule came from obedience and learning to live with one another in community. How would this help you? Well, don't get into a spiritual practice that beats yourself up. This is really one more ego trip. The spiritual gym needs moderation, but a regular visit to prayer. You don't need to sit in uncomfortable positions for long periods of time. Pray regularly, in a way that appeals to you. Then take time to be with others and see how you can develop a non-judgmental attitude, become accepting, less self-focused, more giving and less demanding. But again, don't overdo all this either. The spiritual practice is not living the extraordinary life, but rather living the ordinary with gratitude and gentleness with yourself and others. "Daily" is the key word here.