Here at the Monastic Academy, we’re getting ready to enter beta with our flagship product, monastic coworking. I’m extremely excited about this: not only because I think it will benefit my organization and the world, but because as one of the first coworkers, I actually know firsthand how amazing what we’re offering is.
Each day of the coworking program, I discovered how to integrate practice into my work. We spent an evening saying a simple phrase over and over while actively maintaining our technique, to practice really staying mindful in conversation. We learned a meditation technique for making decisions that I teach and still use regularly. We sat, a lot. And for a week, during the silent retreat, we had nothing to do but drive for enlightenment with everything we had.
This all adds up to something big: I don’t just have a deeper practice now. My work is my practice. They aren’t two things: my work strengthens my peace and resolve. My peace strengthens my work. Each and every interaction I’ve had since my coworking month has been influenced by the freedom and integrity I gained. Maybe you can even see it here.
I remember being pitched on coworking in the fall of 2015, back when it was still an experimental, unproven new business model. I agreed for a number of reasons, but mostly I was sorely feeling a need to get back in touch with my meditation practice, and I wanted to support my friends at CML.
Leading up to starting the program, I remember feeling uncertain about the price. I recall thinking about it on the way home one day: I was thinking in terms of “assuming my marginal productivity increases by x%, it’ll have been worth it in y time.” I did some mental arithmetic, and wound up with some uncertainty about whether it made sense to do it or not. I tried to imagine what else I could do with that money instead that’d be better: buy a new laptop, take a trip somewhere, sign up for an online degree or something. I figured that in the worst case, I was making a donation to an organization I cared about, so I went ahead and gave it a shot.
After I got back, I remember looking back on that line of thought and laughing. Yes, my productivity definitely had gone up by enough to justify the cost in a reasonable time horizon (I’d guess 6 months to a year, for your information). Hell, just the ability to propose and discuss solutions to technical problems without getting attached to particular ones was worth it. But what I’ve received from the program is so much more valuable that it seemed hilarious to even look at it in those terms.
It’s hard for me to describe the relief and gratitude I feel in my body just now as I write this. I look back and think: I almost missed it. I could’ve just gotten a shiny new top-of-the-line Mac instead. I’m so lucky.
My life now is incomparably different, and it keeps getting better. There’s still a lot of work to do, but I’m finally starting to identify with the algorithm: to stop worrying so much about whether the immediate scenery is pleasant or unpleasant, and just do what must be done, across all worlds, no matter what. This is the way of deep, lasting fulfillment.
The idea that through my efforts, I could help even one of you to experience something like this… how lucky are we?