The Monastery is a community that forms itself organically, through the interest of the people investing in it. It is not centred around a conviction, a belief or a set of truths. Nor is there any central teacher, guru, abbot or more enlightened being guiding the path. We love to practice together, and share our practices. We love to exchange thoughts and discuss. Some of us love to read and share their insights. Others love to garden and share their fruits (and vegetables). Still others just like to lie around, play with a piece of string, and purr while licking our tails.
Not having a master narrative, challenges us to improvise and make up the practice in the doing. It renders the Monastery quite vulnerable to the touch. Allowing it to stay alert, aware of its possible collapse or implosion. It also protects the community from hiding behind ‘spiritual materialism’ (as Buddhist master Chögyum Trungpa so aptly describes it): holding on to rules, habits, behavioural norms, and personalised devotion.
In the Monastery regularity and experiment meet. We have an order of the day, but it has been collectively constructed, and as such can be changed. That doesn’t render the order less powerful. To surrender to what you have yourself created might seem like an absurd strategy, but by not accepting a rule out of awe for its (religious, historical, personal) authority, we make the surrender complete. This surrender is unreasonable, it doesn’t need proof or self-importance. We surrender to no-thing, no-master, just to the surrender itself.
We learn to give up on certainty, symbolic capital, self-delusion. Or at least, we practice trying to.