Earlier this week when I was at my local meditation center conversing with my meditation mentor about keeping up with at-home practice. For those who don’t know… ideally someone meditates in a specific room in their living habitat which is off-limits to sexual activities. My meditation mentor had suggested that I find a space to do meditation where I quickly informed him that my apartment was a mere 12ft-by-12ft apartment.
When explaining the sacrifices I had to make to afford to live on my own, especially in this economy, the term “Monastic Cell” was thrown out there. Thought-provoking, and a lot nicer than what others have referred to my apartment as, I begin to realize that with enough structure and discipline one does not need to deny themselves certain items to stride for a monastic living situation. Yes I don’t have every modern convenience but it is not only the limited space that makes monastic living a possibility but it is initiating discipline.
There is traditional monastic living and then individualized monastic living around the expectations of your daily life. Traditionally monks have an expected time to wake up, to do prayer and recitation, classes, self-study, and prayer. Monks strive to live in the moment, for focus, and alertness. Servitude is not only to themselves but to the community. The level of servitude can exist in D/s by both co-dependency. A schedule, which for some is easier depending on how the structure is in place, has a beneficial place for both rule-based and intent-based dynamics
A few years back I spent the summer with a now-ex who had a very strict schedule for me. Monastic living became second nature. From 7 am in the morning on my summer break from college, walking for an hour, during which time I would start coffee and have breakfast for her by 8:30 am, cleaning during the morning, job searching during the afternoon, preparing dinner, and walking again I had a strict schedule. Although some structures, such as the one above, have the potential to become overkill it is simply not just structure either. As an older adult now I have the ability to stay discipline even when single, although much difficult, and remind myself that monastic living is also finding the ability to stay balanced through the day.
Balance is not simply being able to follow a routine to a “T”. Monastic living engages meditation from catholic monks and nuns to Buddhists. It helps not only identify what is surrounding you but gives you a glimpse of your own body. Your physical, mental, and emotional healthy. Taken from the movie Eat Pray Love after Cruella finishes being silent for four weeks she states “Your face just relaxes, your throat just drops down [….] your throat will look amazing as well!” Any meditation practice, with enough discipline and focus, will begin showing insight about well-being and health.
Monastic living is simply not just a spiritual journey that needs to begin and end on the cushion or in a silent retreat… but can be invoked in any aspect of life with enough discipline.