I have often heard monks and nuns being made fun of. As a child, I myself might even have thought or did. Today I am ashamed. They are modern-day heroes. No. They have always been heroes. It's just that we, who are growing up in the Western world, do not see it, do not feel it.
Megisti Lavra perches majestically atop a cliff 520 feet above the crashing foam and rocks, more like a small walled town. On the outside, you have the regulation square tower and the jutting painted wooden balconies. Within, there are a whole series of buildings.
Overwhelmed by the savagely wild beauty of its forested mountains, precipitously rugged cliffs and plunging emerald valleys, she asked her son, who just happened to be God, to make it her garden which, true to filial piety, he did.
It is time for an excursion to the country. On the main street of a tea village called Meijiawu, there are no English words on the signs. I am beginning to breathe. The air smells cleaner. Maybe it is all the Longjing tea leaves.
Technology can only enrich our lives to the degree that we can stay present with ourselves and each other. I have to remind myself that I can still love my phone, but it will never love me back. The only "access" I need is to myself and the people that matter most. Everything else can wait.
Even monks and serious meditators will admit that developing humility is no easy task. However, if we hope to move in that direction, we can all some time reflect on our behavior and interactions and see how we can make some positive changes towards a more humble approach to life.
I'm continually engulfed in modern day life with beeps, vibrations, commercials, news feeds -- a variety of attacks on all my senses. Yet, silence's mystifying self still delicately reaches for my curious heart.
From my experiences at these various monasteries, I found that it wasn't until I sat through these things in silence and space that I could reach a much deeper and often darker place of self-discovery, which led and still leads me to more of my true self.