This post originally appeared on Huffington Post
New monasticism is not just a theoretical concept. It is an orientation in life, a commitment that asks us to bring every aspect of our lives into a living relationship with God, with the Spirit, with the Buddha Nature-Mind, with one's deepest Self.
--Rory McEntee and Adam Bucko, The New Monasticism: An Interspiritual Manifesto for Contemplative Living
Without doubt, there is great value in spirituality that emphasizes and supports withdrawal from society. But in our time, with its special needs, we require a spirituality of intense involvement and radical engagement with the world...it is in the real world that the wisdom of the monks must be made accessible. It is in the real world that their awakening and development need to occur, not off in remote solitude... Why do I choose to be a monk in the world and not locked away in a remote hermitage? Because I want to identify with and be identified with all those who suffer alone in the world, who are abandoned, homeless, unwanted, unknown, and unloved. I want to know the insecurity and vulnerability they experience, to forge solidarity with them. ... I wish to be near the least, the forgotten and ignored, so I can be a sign of hope and love for them and for all others who need me in some way.
Monasticism has its origin here in the hidden places of the heart...It is this heartfelt monasticism that has inspired so many souls to venture to mountain caves, desert huts, and remote communities throughout the East and West, whether these seekers be Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, or Christian ... an inner monk doesn't require an overtly religious context. It is an innate expression of the mystical quest that everyone can reach by virtue of our common humanity.