Monday, April 18, 2011

Ponderings, musings, thinkings

I've been invited by Dark Mother to hold a dinner with six people, either living or dead, and list them on my blog.  Alas!  I'm having trouble finding more than 2 right now.  But I am still working on the invitation list so I will get that out some time this week.

For now, though, I've been doing a lot of pondering, musing, and just downright thinking and after all that effort, I insist on sharing it with you.  Whether you want it or not.

As you know, I've been watching Monastery on PBS the past few weeks.  I was surprised to find out how much I liked it since I was very wary about watching what I perceived would be a thinly-veiled attempt at proselytizing.  In the first place, it wasn't that thinly-veiled and in the second place, they didn't really proselytize.  Contradictory, you say?  But of course.

There was a lot of drama between two of the men, and another one was focused on a lot, but the one who intrigued me the most got the least coverage.  I mentioned him last post:  Nick, the Buddhist.  At least I thought he was a Buddhist.  He got his doctorate in Buddhist Studies and spent a lot of time in Buddhist temples and monasteries all over the world.   I was intrigued because, well, he was cute, and because he was the most spiritual of the group.  He chafed the least at all the rules and seemed to get the most out of the meditation.

The last episode dealt mostly with the drama between the two guys who were always butting heads, but the focus should have been the Carthusian monastery they visited.  Life there was spent mostly in solitude and silence.  The trip there was pivotal for a few of the group, mainly Nick, of course.  It hit him in a way that he described as nearly pure spirituality.  Or something like that.  That kind of focus challenged him and woke up a calling he thought he had put to rest...that of the priesthood.  I'm thinking, of course, the Buddhist priesthood.

Nope.  The Reverend Dr. Nicholas Buxton is now an Anglican priest.  And here I thought he was one of the ones having trouble thinking of Jesus as the Son of God.  Apparently that was just creative editing as in retrospect, Nick doesn't ever say he doesn't believe, while most of the others do.

Like I said, it didn't hurt that he was very good-looking.

I've read some of his sermons and writings after the fact and he's quite impressive in his perspective.  Plus, he actually went back to the Carthusian monastery and spent a month there.  That story is especially interesting.  This series really did challenge me as well.

No, I'm not joining a monastery.  And I'm not going back to Christianity.  Although I loved the way it was portrayed in the series, I'm not stupid enough to believe that was what was actually taught there.  It was a very secularized version of how monastery life really is.  It wasn't an attempt to create Catholics; it was an attempt to challenge them to dig deeper into themselves and find their own path to spirituality.  They came out the other side with different perspectives and as different men.  One eventually became a Buddhist, another became a believer in Jesus but still disdains church, another reaffirmed his belief in Christianity, albeit Protestant Christianity, another came from agnosticism to believe in God, but not as a Christian.  And Nick who found his path to the priesthood.

What I did get out of it was that there are always going to be deeper levels awaiting anyone who wants to look for them.  No matter what spiritual path you are walking, there are rest stops available to stop and dig deeper into the reason for the journey.  Do I want to avail myself of these rest stops?

That's what I've been pondering, musing, thinking about.  What do I want out of all this?  I have little discipline in my life, either my secular existence or my spiritual life but I really believe that I would benefit from pushing myself out of my comfort zones as long as the direction I'm pushing myself in will make it worthwhile.  I've tried meditation, but only half-heartedly.  I haven't really tried because I'm spiritually lazy.  Incredibly spiritually lazy.  And yet, I would love to be more disciplined and more focused on spirituality.  I'm not looking for a retreat or to hide from real life at all.  I would just like there to be...more.

Another thing I gained from this series was a relief from the bitterness I felt toward Christianity.  I haven't gained a lot as I still feel very bitter toward the institution of Christianity, which I see as being manipulative and deceitful, but I really liked what I saw in these monks.  It seemed that they lived more for the Rules of St. Benedict rather than all the rules of Christianity which actually was very impressive as it was all about the good of the society rather than the good of the individual.  I wouldn't like to lose myself as an individual.  I've already done that and am the worse for it.  But thinking of the greater good first would be so much better for society than thinking that I've got what I want so screw everyone else.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with all this yet.  Initially I only intend to find some structure in my disheveled life and take baby steps toward that rest stop where I can stop and enjoy my spiritual surroundings.  Then we'll see.  I've never, ever in my life done more than just accept what was taught to me.  I've never tried to find my own truths.  I think that is my first step.

And this should also help me in my endeavor to learn to like myself enough to treat me like I deserve to be treated.

And now off to plan my guest list for my dinner party with the dead and the living.


  1. The spiritual quest is a very rewarding journey. Take up your walking staff and begin, pilgrim!

    P.S. Love that "gay marriage" quotation on your sidebar! It's true. Someday it will just be called "marriage" again.

  2. I have a walking staff! I do! I do! My husband found it while he was deer hunting last year. I shall do that and since it's a full moon tonight, I'll take the opportunity to do a full ritual.

    I loved that quotation when I saw it on someone's blog. I think it was Gay Married Californian, but I'm not sure. But I knew I had to have it on both my blogs. Because it's one of the finest truths I know.