The Monastic Life
Cut off from all emotional attachments, knowing no deep devotion to any person or thing, one may live the monastic life while still in the world, but not of it.
The monastic life is often lived with a deep concern for mankind, with the desire to uplift, serve, sometimes save the world, yet there is no deep love for any individual, nor is there a need for mother, brother, wife, or friend.
Many who give up the world to abide in monastery or convent find that complete separation from loved ones, or from being loved, is beyond their powers. There has not come to them the necessary insulation from worldly love and care.
The monastic life, even when lived in the world, is completely insulated so that there is no emotional interchange in human relationships.
In this spiritual insulation, one lives a devotion to human service and spiritual regeneration, but without involvement in personal emotions.
It is this spiritual insulation which makes possible the life of aloneness lived by mystics. Yes, the qualities emanating from the mystic's aloneness is the very blessing to all who touch, or are touched by, the mystic's life.
Emotion would be a drain, depleting the spiritual power inherent in the true monastic life.
It is doubtful if the monastic life can be cultivated. It is a gift of God, bestowed on those ready for the experience and always for a specific purpose. Those possessing it may have remaining hidden longings for closer companionship with those of his family or religious circle, even sometimes a deep desire for home, but he has not the capacity to enjoy these or to remain in them. These human desires are often leaks in the insulation or a leftover from a last human experience on earth.
It is this inability to fuse that makes the mystic difficult to live or work with. Always the spiritual light serves as a barrier to emotional reaction, and for the sake of his friends and relatives it would be better for those living the monastic life to separate themselves from personal contacts. Then the impersonal life of love is lived without strain or drain upon one's resources of spiritual power. Only the emotions strain or drain the spiritual capacities, and these are absent when the monastic life is lived apart from family experience. Since all those called to the monastic life are not drawn to the monastery or convent, it is wise to thus withdraw from too close contact with ordinary human living.
Many, drawn to the monastic life, retain for many years the longing for one, one companion, friend, parent, wife or husband, just some one with whom to share every unfolding inner experience and outer fruitage. Eventually even this must dissolve in the complete withdrawal into God.
A dark night of the soul which may last many weeks brings the final release from all attachment, and the monastic life is fully lived in God. Now all human association and relationships are as impersonal, yet as warm and tender, as that of God to man.
From Tape 152A
The Nature of God as Love
1956 Second Steinway Hall Closed Class
Also found in The Infinite Way Letters 1956
Chapter 12, The Christ