“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we see in them.” Thomas Merton
Thomas Merton was a trappist monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani, Kentucky, he was a poet, mystic and a student of comparative religion.
Some may have observed a recent shift toward writing about contemplation, religion and spirituality. The catalyst for this is an e-course called “Crafting your own Religion” in which I am a participate. It is being taught by Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul , amongst other books on religion, mind and spirit.
Today the class was asked to consider perhaps taking a few practices from monastic or cloistered traditions toward crafting our own religions, i.e. taking a deeper dive into things! TM used the word “serious”. This sounded serious to me suggesting we take religion seriously. And it felt like a red flag. I have never cottoned to folks who take religion too seriously. But leaning into something to craft a thing most to my own liking is the whole point of the class. So – from my heart – here are vows I might subscribe to and some text I might like to see illuminated in a manuscript.
Thomas Moore says, “Vows help us to avoid forgetfulness and distraction & anchor our vision.” Here are my three simple vows:
To be responsible with all human relationships, i.e., be transparent, vulnerable, present & available
To do my best in all things without judgement or expectation
To laugh and be joyful
My scriptorium text (currently) would be
“Don’t think of yourself as an intestinal tract and a tangle of nerves in the skull, that will not work unless you drink coffee. Think of yourself as incandescent power, illuminated perhaps and forever talked to by God and his messengers… Think if Tiffany’s made a mosquito, how wonderful we would think it was!” ~ Brenda Ueland
The vows and quote above appear to advocate an innocence or child’s eye view. But from my current perspective this is a fine and wonderful thing. For to partition off from our waking selves “childlike wonder” seems most forgetful indeed!
If you were to monk-ey around with monastic ways what would you do?
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