THE MONASTIC LIFE
Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© July 2014, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
THE HOUSEHOLDER VERSUS THE MONK OR NUN
In many ancient religious traditions, including Christianity, Islam and Buddhism, people lived in one of two conditions or states. These were called 1) the householder or 2) the monk or nun. Sometimes the latter were called temple dwellers.
The householder meant living with others in a house or apartment type of dwelling. Usually one was married, and usually one lived with or was in touch with children, and perhaps grandchildren. The householder also earned money, which meant having a job or a career. It also involved some travel, and what might be called a distracting and somewhat chaotic life.
The monk or nun. In contrast, the monk or nun lived a much more rigid, disciplined life. It was a regimented life with much prayer and often religious ritual. The lifestyle was Spartan, with simple nourishing meals, simple clothing and few, if any material possessions. It was also a rigid life socially, without marriage, and with limited contact with others. Often one’s entire social life was with the others in the monastery or convent. It was a life without common pleasures such as sex, drinking alcohol, listening to music, sports and other things that are common in the outside world. These were considered distractions that at best, waste time, and at worst, destroy the mind and the body. It was a life in which one separated oneself purposely from the mainstream of society in order to move in a different direction.
In ancient Oriental philosophy, a man or woman would first live the life of a householder. At a certain age, when the children were grown and independent, the person would then switch and live in a monastery or convent to move closer to God. This was done fairly commonly in the Orient up until about 1000 years ago.
FOLLOWING A NUTRITIONAL BALANCING PROGRAM IS SOMEWHAT AKIN TO LIVING A MONASTIC LIFE WITHOUT THE MONASTERY
Following a nutritional balancing program is like a hybrid state between the householder and the monk or nun. This is interesting to contemplate. It is a 21st century version of the monastic life in a time when most people do not and really cannot live in monasteries or convents. This is the theme of this article, and an interesting thought to ponder.
The “monastic life”, in this article, means:
- a fairly quiet life.
- a more meditative life.
- positive attention given to the body for the purpose of healing, strengthening and balancing it. This is not a morbid preoccupation with the body or with disease. It is a gentle recognition that the body is the temple of the living God, and that all the bodies today are somewhat toxic and depleted. Therefore, the body requires:
a) a life with discipline and routines.
b) eating simple, nutritious meals.
c) taking various nutritional supplements the body needs.
d) doing daily procedures designed to move a person forward in their healing and in mental development.
- taking time for study and learning, rather than just distracting yourself.
- understanding the importance of service, no matter what you do. You may be a mother, or a business person, or a friend. These can all be used for service to the Creator and to others.
- nonconformity to the prevailing society. I am reminded of the famous Bible verse from the New Testament, John 12:2: “Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect Will of God.”
However, the modern nutritional balancing version of the monastic life does not mean:
- enforced poverty.
- forced celibacy.
- having very few friends.
- no marriage or family life.
- rejection of the material world and material possessions.
To be continued …