Obviously, monks and nuns do not live in a different world from you. The fact that you can read this blog means I am using a computer, I send and receive email and I have the same instantaneous access to information that you do. If we didn’t, how would we communicate with you or understand anything of your experience?
But there are differences. I don’t text and I don’t twitter. I tend to look at computers and emails as something I can’t escape in the Twenty-first Century but usually as facts-of-life I wish weren’t there. They are side-lines, not the center of my life. It helps support a way of life that questions consumerism and the value of “communications” achieved electronically. My day is predictable, even routine; yet it’s anything but dull. In fact, I’ve sometimes wished I had a little boredom in my life. I don’t know if that’s comprehensible to someone outside the monastery: how life can be stimulating without all the choices available in a consumer society. To me, what the market offers is distracting and disturbs focus. When I focus the monastic culture allows me to hear the voice of the prophets and look out to the plight of the poor and disenfranchised, I become very grateful for what I have and how I can live. I look for ways that will not compound the plight of others; for choices that might help.
Have you ever wondered whether you can recover simplicity? Has our world become too complicated to allow that? You may find this experiment an interesting response to the question. I don’t offer it as a blue print (though some of you may want to try it) but as a catalyst to your own creativity: bodycopybyjake-“Going Amish”.