Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lent in the Rule of Benedict

"The life of a monk ought to be a continuous Lent. Since few however, have the strength for this, we urge the entire community during these days of Lent to keep its manner of life most pure and to wash away in this holy season the negligences of other times...let each one deny himself some food, drink, sleep, needless talking and idle jesting, and look forward to holy Easter with joy and spiritual longing." (Rule of Benedict 49)

Living somewhat austerely is something of a habit for me. Austere in terms of food, running, solitude and spiritual study instead of entertainment and participation in society. My life continues to drive in that direction because what I really want is beyond negligences, food, drink, needless talk and idle jesting. A Lenten life is one of the ongoing legacies left me from monastic life.

I always wanted to be a thoughtful person. Unfortunately, I don't think I have too many authentic, true, honest or inspirational thoughts. But part of why I limit my input from society and even too many books is to allow thoughts to come from the inside of me. I have stuck to one spiritual text for 2 1/2 years hoping to go deeper into Spirit. I think I am, but have not learned enough to explain anything.

So much of my thoughts are wrapped up in differences; how I seem to rub people the wrong way for being healthy or eating right. I'm worried about tomorrow. I have a meeting most of the day with "the guys" at work. They are bringing donuts and candy for snacks and going to a steak house for lunch. I go along, but it will be another occasion where I have to endur little comments about my eating habits. They would not understand someone who lives on as little as I do or who has two pieces of bread and an apple for lunch.

I have made choices in my life. I want the internal more than the external. I want to be an athlete and a meditator more than I want to care for family or engage in social events. Now, I need to learn peace with the areas of my life where society and asceticism need to mix. I have not got beyond the stage where I view relationships as anything but a hot stove. I will have to touch it and I will feel my ego burning. After such events, I go and do what I need to do the keep from dwelling in hatred of others. It involves taking my own thought inventory and giving the hatred to Jesus (or Pierre; Jesus and I have considered changing his name).

Going deeper: I have signed up for a 24 hour run on March 19 and 20. I am so excited to see what will happen to me.

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