Friday, July 16, 2021

The Simple Way

I'm something of a wannabe monk, at least in terms of longing to apply myself to an ordered rule of life, rich in prayer, discipline, and contemplation. Over the years, I've written many monastic "rules" of this sort (a rule in the sense not of a single ordinance, but a whole ordered scheme of how to live one's life). Ultimately, I found that I was not very good at keeping any highly-specific rule. So I've ended up following a general philosophy of life which, while based on monastic sensibilities, is also rich with the freedom of Christian joy. I call it "the Simple Way," and I offer it here as something that may bless you, inspire you, or at least grant you the momentary pleasure of curiosity at seeing what a strikingly odd fellow I can be. I've phrased my version of the Simple Way to address some of my own growth-areas, but it can easily be adapted to many others.

 The Simple Way

Choose Life (real life!)

Real practices, real food, and real adventures by in-joying the sacrament of the present moment

When choices of activities present themselves, choose those that will make for a life well lived: memory-making adventures filled with simple pleasures and good relationships.

There are no overly stringent requirements for what you must accomplish in a given day or week beyond doing your duty with gratitude and contentment—in all other choices for living, focus simply on being present in the moment and on abiding in the presence of God. Allow yourself to be the truly yourself in the reality of the present moment, taking it as a gift of God's grace, whether the moment is easy or hard, and share the experience with those whom God has given you to bless and to be a blessing unto you.

Therefore, avoid fake living—diminish idle screen time as much as possible, in favor of reading books, enjoying the beauty of God's world, doing creative tasks, and interpersonal time.

Feed on true goodness—not processed or unhealthy foods—choose real food, eaten at normal times, to meet (but not exceed) the real needs of the body.

The bottom line is this: live along the grain of reality, which is nothing less than the love of God experienced in the particularity of the present moment of your own life.