CREDOS : Precious lives — II

My longing for solitude and silence baffles most people I know, but I’d been on retreats like this many times before at Buddhist and Christian monasteries. I don’t wear a crucifix around my neck or beads on my wrist. I’ve taken no vows. It’s just that there are times when I want to be silent and in a spiritual community that aspires to more than what Shakespeare called “this mortal coil.”

The point of it for me is to stop running and dodging the stuff I am made of; to sit still and take in the fullness of who I really am. I remember in seminary learning how the search for self and the search for God, the 4th-century Christian St. Augustine believed, are one and the same because your truest, most complete self is written in God’s memory. That has always made sense to me.

The search is a meaningful one because the only way any of us is going to be really happy and of any genuine help is, as founder of this abbey, Chögyam Trungpa says, if we “discover what inherently we have to offer the world.” To find out who I am and what I can offer

the world I sometimes need to get away from the world, and I like what I find: I am not so quick to anger, easily annoyed, or frequently critical.

In Buddhism, it is believed this sense of clarity comes from stilling the mind; it is compared to

clear water after the sediment settles. It was late summer in the Canadian Maritimes — warm days and chilly, sometimes stormy nights. —