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Drawn to a monastic lifestyle

but nowhere to go

wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd
19-Feb-2019 11:27 Message #4735546
I've felt drawn to a monastic lifestyle for years, but not being Christian or Bhuddist have never found anywhere to take it. I used to love going on silent retreats, I felt so calm afterward, unfortuatley the place closed down as the owner sold up. I've not found anywhere like it since thats open to all religions and none, that caters for people dabbling their toes into a spiritual life to see if its for them to those who's path is clear before them.

I miss the sense of community, and when we wern't in silence conversations with people of so many different faiths, you'd think a couple of nuns, a pagan, a couple of bhuddists, an astrologer, a christian and a couple of new age types sitting around a table having lunch together would be hostile and filled with argument. Only it wasn't, there was opennes and curiosity, respect and a sense that we were all heading for the same place, but by different paths. We all learned so much from each other, not to be afraid, to respect each other and bits of more personal wisdom. I think the world needs more of this not less, especially at a time when theres so much discord and fragmentation.

I think if I won the lottery that I don't do, I'd set up a truely open spiritual community. Have any of you ever felt drawn to a more monastic or spiritual lifestyle?
tumbled  Male  Gloucestershire
19-Feb-2019 11:59 Message #4735549
So much two facedness and hypocrisy in a lot of it though.

Often, I find that people who talk about respect for instance, are the least respectful in many ways.

So many things, I was watching a drama the other day, and a Catholic Priest saying something to a person who was pulling the wool over peoples eyes, about Catholicism being built on honesty, or something like that, and I thought 'Yeah, Right!'

Also, saying a few hairy Marys, and all your sins are forgiven etc.

Anyway, we all need to to find inner peace in any way that we can I suppose. I love silence and the peace it often brings. I could gladly not talk to anyone for days. But I love all sorts of other things over the years. No drinking or womanising nowadays, but a bit of betting and lottery, hoping to win big. And if I win big, then treat myself to stuff., amongst other things. Not sure I would be able to do that as a monk or something. Although, some of those monks like a flutter.
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire
19-Feb-2019 16:30 Message #4735556
Buddhist communities are generally not Faith specific. I'm sure you know that Buddhism isn't a religion but a philosophy and some who attend meetings are belonging to a Faith.

I think Buddhists are mostly welcoming to anyone. When I used to go to Macclesfield, it was an introduction to Buddhism and two friends I made were both Catholic women. There was no animosity or stress or anything like that. It wasn't about challenging the beliefs of others but they did welcome being challenged on Buddhism.

Since it was a bad time that drew me to go, I questioned the belief about always aiming to be happy. It was brilliant, especially since the Yogi was a retired lecturer in philosophy at University of Salford so he brought valued addition dimension to the discussions.

What I did find challenging was going away on a Yoga weekend and finding myself completely out of my depth. I was quite fit, but not THAT fit

I'm sure there are some Buddhist week-ends in Wales.
"The two prices we show for our retreats are the normal full rate and a concessionary rate: for students, unwaged, OAP’s and FWBO Centre/businesses workers. Further concessions may be available"

I am not keen on some Buddhist centres based on one guy who always promotes his own publications. I can't recall his name, but it felt too commercial rather than authentic, but it isn't the traditional learning.
terry  Male  West Yorkshire
20-Feb-2019 23:18 Message #4735680
I'm not sure the 'rules' of it, or other's perceptions, but I've always thought of a monastic lifestyle as a life choice, not a dip in and dip out thing.
If I were courageous enough and able enough I'd happily leave this society and go to live such a life - albeit a non-religous version.
But I am far too soft and contradictory and lacking in either self-belief or any belief.
Clocky  Female  the West Midlands
21-Feb-2019 08:29 Message #4735687
WH ...have you looked here ...
Minnie-the-Minx  Female  Hertfordshire
21-Feb-2019 09:00 Message #4735690
I always consider my holidays to be spiritual retreats. I spend a lot of time close to nature and very little time with people. And I come back feeling healed and renewed.
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd
21-Feb-2019 10:48 Message #4735699
Clocky, thanks I'll check that out.

Minnie, I don't go on holiday, but then living here, everyday seems like a holiday, in terms wildlife.

Terry. Retreats are a time when people can take time out from their everyday lives and care for their spiritual and mental well being. Some people get on their high horses about it and think you've got to do it full time or not at all, I disagree with that personally, think we all need time out from our normal lives, to concentrate on ourselves. It does feel like a big step to even go on retreat for a few days, people are very judgemental about it, mostly I think they're reflecting out loud their own fears about spending so much time with themselves. The people who were most understanding and almost jealous of me going on silent retreats were mums of small children, like me, I was a youth counsellor at the time, it wasn't about not talking to people, but about not having to listen to anyone, a friend who came with me a couple of times said after a couple of days that you don't realise how much attention you use listening to the incessant chatter of a 3 year old and what a luxury it was to listen one of her own thoughts from begining to end without interuption.

I've felt drawn to a monastic lifestyle since my teenage years, its a really difficult thing to talk about as people tell you you're being romantic and living in a dream, also not being Christian and there not being other faiths and paths as visible at the time it seemed something that was closed to me.
Skyeman  Male  the Highlands and Islands of Scotland
24-Feb-2019 21:21 Message #4736014
Hi Hen,
If you're still looking for a replacement retreat, have you heard about Holy Isle, in Lamlash Bay, just off the coast of the Isle of Arran in the Firth of Clyde? The whole island is owned by an order of Buddhists that offers retreats for anyone, regardless of faith or belief (or none). It's also a really beautiful island. Ask Mr Google for more info.
Myself, living where I do, I can go for days and not speak to a soul - as and when I choose. It's not monastic, it's bliss.
Beach  Male  Somerset
25-Feb-2019 15:29 Message #4736089
I'd tend to lean towards finding retreat, solace or sanctuary inside the mind, primarily, though I accept and agree that some spiritual location (or company) can enhance or substitute for inner peace to a degree.

I'd be suspicious of the nuns, especially Catholic nuns, but would never imagine a group of Buddhists, a Pagan, an Astrologer, a Christian and a couple of New Age types to have the least difficulty in chilling out together.

If you replaced them with any typical handful of Midsummer members, (or folk just scooped up off of any street), you'd, no doubt, have problems but that's because, GENERALISATION ALERT, plain ordinary folk tend to have more intransigent views than malleable Pagans, Astrologers and New Age types more comfortable in acknowledging broader, wilder or more ethereal outlooks on life.

We have such a retreat as you describe, Hen, along a section of the most untouched section of our coast road and, yes, a couple of decades ago, I considered (for a short while) staying there for a season … until my circumstances rendered that option inappropriate.

We also have a sanctuary inland under the shadow of Pilsdon Pen, an ancient Iron Age hillfort. The manor and grounds are used by recovering addicts, (mainly alcohol based ones), and I've sent many a homeless traveller that way over the years. "Pilsdon is a community that shares a common life of prayer, hospitality and work, providing an environment of acceptance and friendship where people can begin to rebuild their lives."

Peace and love ;-)
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd
26-Feb-2019 11:16 Message #4736178
Obviously the ideal is for a sanctuary in the mind, body and soul, but sometimes the world intrudes to much, it takes a lot of dedication, space and understanding from those around you to keep that up. Its no good if people see that you're meditating and decide that they're going to interupt you often with "a do me something". Oddly enough animals either leave you alone or come and join you, it other humans and particulalry male humans that cause the problems, they always have a list of "you should/ought to be doing this instead. Or its decided that the room you're in needs cleaning, despite the fact that its your room and is perfectly clean, its my fault that I'm disturbed by them, I see it as attention seeking and ask if using the same logic they'd try and clean a bath that somebody was in? I was told by one now ex that I should of given all that up when I met him, that he didn't think I'd need it anymore. I think you could write whole volumes of learned papers on that statement.

I've met quite a few CofE nuns as well as some Catholic ones, the sort of nuns that go to an open house for a spiritual retreat arn't the usual run of what you might expect a nun to be, they have opinions that you wouldn't expect and are very interesting to talk to, just never get in a car with one, being driven over steep mountain roads by some one with complete faith is a scary scary experience. Pagan's arn't always malleable, niether are astrolgers and many new age types annoy everybody else with their general wooliness and Bhuddist baiting is a good sport when they get all holier than thou, which is quite often.

The community you describe sounds great SoB, but not quite waht I'm in need of, I will check out the places others have suggested.

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