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A Monk in the World

"Monasticism in all its forms ... exists to nurture the development, fruition, and gifts of the inner mystic or inner monk. We all have this hidden mystic consciousness that desires to be born, grow, and give itself out freely. The contemplative journeys to this goal on which he or she has his heart and mind concentrated in all effort. The contemplative seeks intimacy with the Spirit, with infinite consciousness, vast realization - with God, the hidden divine mystery. The word mystic refers to this desire and pursuit of intimacy with the Divine, with the Spirit for the sake of others and for oneself.

... Contemplation is the ultimate purpose of monastic communities. They are environments of intense and comprehensive growth in this most precious of activities.

... Although monasteries and other such institutions are useful, they are not necessary for one to make his or her way into this mystery. Once the inner monk awakens, once the mystic begins to see, an interior freedom is ignited, and the external structures become less important. We will always need them, but they are not where humanity lives. They are places of retreat, renewal, and rest. And most important, they are a countercultural symbol of the spiritual journey we must all make in our own way and at our own pace." (pp. xxvii - xxix) Wayne Teasdale


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