This is beautiful, Mark. In the world, and working full-time, I found that when I practiced silent prayer I often had to take breaks. It was very difficult to go through the unavoidable purgation and at the same time pretend like everything was normal with me at work. I had to take breaks from it to let it work its way through me.

Obviously this is the benefit of a lay contemplative community. It isn't any less of a challenge--maybe it is more of one--but rather that the process is part of the lived rhythm of one's life. The spiral of death and resurrection becomes oddly natural. Being in nature allows us to see that as dying and rebirth as we ourselves undergo it.

A place to come to die...and fully alive.

Thank you for this post. -Jack

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Thank you, Jack. That's an astute observation - I think that this is one of the reasons for the relatively high level of structure in a monastic environment, and also why we've found structured days to be so important here. It gives something to keep life going when the inner landscape painful and disorienting. It's a more difficult task to do this working and living in a secular environment. A related benefit is that the other people sharing community life can relate, and it can be help as normal - and even good - to go through the seasons of purgation.

As you articulated, nature seems to follow a similar rhythm, and can also be a helpful companion along the way!

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