A New Monastic Way of Life: A Divine Call to the Soul of Humanity

Illumination_of_Rabia_CropIf ancient civilizations gave rise to the monastic impulse within a particular religious context, a new monastic way of life is being born from the artifacts of our historical period. It is being shaped by a dynamic, fast-paced global society; by openness to multi-faith and interspiritual conversations; by a concern for suffering and the ravages of human violence; by a desire to prevent further destruction to the earth and to heal its eco-systems. It is fueled by a need for meaning, perhaps nowhere more apparent than in young adults, and in the day-to-day difficulties that beset people today. It is a cry in the wilderness, a desire to return to our source, to the visionary, ethereal, awe-inspiring knowledge of those who ventured into the deep regions and came away illumined, transformed.

Today we have a rare opportunity to cultivate this monastic consciousness outside of the monastic enclosure and even outside of a religious denomination. We are blessed to be able to draw upon the wisdom of the world’s spiritual traditions and the thought of contemplative masters. It is as if the doors of the monastery were flung open and we’ve been granted access to the collective storehouse of human spiritual possibility.

This development that offers a monastic way for the un-cloistered and the religiously unattached grows out of silence itself. For in meditative awareness, we discover that which is more primordial than religious identity, birthing in us a new expression of the eternal contemplative quest. Today we are called to plant the seeds of a new kind of monastic devotion, one that is open to people of all religious, non-religious, and spiritual orientations.

Of course, the longing for God does not require a monk’s robe or an ascetic practice, or even community. It is imprinted in the soul as its first prayer, as the soul’s first sigh. It is an aspiration for the nameless absolute stamped into our spiritual DNA, burning like a fire in one’s heart that is not quelled until the longing is heeded.

A new monastic way of life aspires to live each day honoring the sacred, …

…recognizing the holiness of existence, striving to be love on earth, and opening one’s heart to the sorrow and the glory that is our world. It is a life vowed to uphold in thought, word, and deed the precious gift of life created in the divine image, and to honor and to take responsibility for the dignity of the earth, cosmos, and all sentient beings.

-Beverly Lanzetta

Illumination of Rabia