(image by Enrico Salvadori)
Although many people associate monasteries with particular religions, celibacy, and solitude, being a monk at the House of the beloved does neither require nor exclude any of these. As a community, we’re not part of any tradition (although individual monks can be), and we welcome all that is human (togetherness, body, sexuality, expressing intense emotions, etc.) as a spiritual practice.
What then does it mean to be a monk?
At the core of life as a monk is the inexorable willingness to be fully available, to stand naked at the edge of our awareness and let ourselves be devoured by the moment.
For me personally, being a monk at the House of the beloved means to feel a deep desire..
- to completely give myself up to a calling -a silent whisper that shares its birthplace with dreams, visions, mystical experiences, and intuition- and by giving myself up allow a life to be revealed through me.
- to shape my life around the question “What in the face of death is worth living for?”
- to practice unconditional love (i.e., cultivate the will to extend myself to support the existential development of myself and all others)
- to faithfully risk myself, to expose myself over and over again to annihilation so that what is indestructible can arise within me.
- to dedicate myself completely and continuously to attaining a permanent, non-symbolic experience of reality and become immersed in life without the mediation of language.
- to become useless to the world, resisting instrumental reasoning, and the societal pressures to conform, consume, perform, produce, be healthy, be happy, and be efficient.
- to joyfully accept constraints (including the monastic rhythm and monastic vows) that help me antidote my tendencies and allow for non-habitual states of awareness and aesthetic enjoyment.
You can read more in depth about each of these intuitions here.
House of the beloved welcomes all journeyers who hear a calling to become a monk, regardless of their philosophies of life, traditions, religions, gender, or sexual orientation. Placing diversity and difference at its core, the communal and monastic life is a “being-different-together and becoming-together as an expression of differences, as part of a shared process participated in differentially” (Manning & Massumi, 2014).
If you feel a (strange) pull to try this out, come and stay with us for a while.