So before we start.
The internet can be a very busy, noisy and fast place.
But this is not.
For a moment.
Take a breath.
And another one.
~ Breathe ~
Settle, my friend.
~ Relax ~
"Although mountains belong to the nation, mountains belong to the people who love them. When mountains love their master, such a virtuous sage or wise person enters the mountains. Since mountains belong to the sages and wise people living there, trees and rocks become abundant and birds and animals are inspired. This is so because the sages and wise people extend their virtue. You should know it as a fact that mountains are fond of wise people and sages. Many rulers have visited mountains to pay homage to wise people or to ask for instruction from great sages. These have been important events in the past and present. At such times these rulers treat the sages as teachers, disregarding the protocol of the usual world. The imperial power has no authority over the wise people in the mountains. Mountains are apart from the human world."
Hidden behind closed doors. Revealed after a storm. Acquired by magic.
In the spirit of the cathedral and monastery builders of the past, refugi draws on the age old traditions of the journeymen - the travelling masters, artisans and apprentices who brought visions into reality. We visiting artists, craftspeople and architects of the divine.
Heart inside house inside mountain…
Refer to this…
Don’t try to push out the nightmare, and don’t try to bring in the bliss. Just rest your being in a state of basic goodness. If necessary, you can actually say to yourself: “Basic goodness.” It will help. Up to this point we’ve been exploring Ashe in the relative sense, how it manifests in our ordinary, everyday experience. At the absolute level, the Ashe principle is nonexistence, which here means being vacant or empty of duality. It is just open space. In the Buddhist tradition, nonexistence is referred to as shunyata. Shunya means “empty,” “not,” or “no.” Ta” makes it “emptiness,” “no-ness,” or “nonexistence.” Nonexistence is always in the background. Either it can be covered up or it can manifest, which allows us to work with this and that, good and bad, in the relative sense. In the Buddhist tradition, as we have discussed, we talk about vajra nature, which is the diamond-like quality of nonexistence that is absolutely indestructible. It does not have any bias toward good or bad. Similarly, the absolute Ashe principle is described as being like a diamond and impossible to destroy. You cannot wound or slash space no matter how sharp your sword may be. In the English language we talk about the hard truth, the hard facts of life. The Ashe principle is the hard facts and the hard truth that cannot be altered. There is nothing mystical about it. If you want to grasp it, it is simple, open, and intangible, but it is very much there. It is no longer regarded as a fanciful, mystical experience. The Ashe is in you; it is in the cosmos. It is universal. It is That. It arises in the form of a razor knife that cuts dualistic preoccupations and concepts of any kind. On the whole, this principle of basic goodness is non-ego, nothing to dwell on anywhere, but utterly sharp and superbly immovable and steady. It is monumental nonexistence. It is the essence of joining heaven and earth.
Bodhi-heart referred to a special quality of devoutness; here, however, in connection with the nectar, it means fluid or secretion--source of energy and compassion.
There is nothing mystical about it. If you want to grasp it, it is simple, open, and intangible, but it is very much there. It is no longer regarded as a fanciful, mystical experience. The Ashe is in you; it is in the cosmos. It is universal. — Chögyam Trungpa,
Ashe - the essence of life.
"Sorry I'm late Mother Superior"
"Oh what are we going to do about you Maria?"
"I don't know babe, I'm not cut out for this monostatic life."
"No one ever has been cut out for monostatic life."
In Genesis 1, God—who is Creator, Spirit, and Word (foretastes of what we would eventually call Trinity)—creates from an overflowing abundance of love, joy, and creativity. Humanity’s core question about our origins is whether the engine of creation is violence and destruction or overflowing love, joy, and creativity. Is our starting point love and abundance or is it fear and hatred? — Fr. Richard Rohr,
“But I'll tell you what hermits realize. If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you'll come to understand that you're connected with everything.” — Alan Watts
nothing harsh, nothing burdensome…as we progress in this way of life…our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love. — Rule of Saint Benedict
A Rule of Life is a cornerstone to any monastic contemplative life. It is a reminder of the foundation stones upon which we are built - it brings us back to our roots. It is a common calling.
Our stability as a collective is based on our accountability to the Rule of Life. It serves
The Refugi Rule Cards
Our Vows Guide The Life Of Our Community
Professed members of refugi and company vow to follow a Rule of Life. The Rule of Life is founded on our vows of Quality, Loyalty, and Abundance. These vows inform the life and body of our work. All of our members seek to bring these qualities into our relationships, our work and in ourselves.
The Rule of Life is to live.
A sister makes a vow of Simplicity by living a life that respects all creation and recognizes that all we have is God-given. She releases her attachment to possessions and releases her desire to control things, situations, and other people. She recognizes our need for one another. Simplicity is a voluntary gift of love in response to the voluntary gift of love in Jesus. Her role and responsibility is to be a good steward, acting with humility and poverty of spirit. She uses all that is entrusted to her – her resources, time, abilities and gifts -- for the benefit of God’s people and for God’s glory.
A sister makes a vow of Fidelity by the joyful abandonment of herself to God because the longing of her heart is to obey her loving creator God. It means she is called by the Holy Spirit to live obediently and to listen with full attention to the Gospels, aiming to fulfill the promises she made at Baptism. It means she listens to the Spirit through decisions of the Community. It means she listens to others, her leaders, and Members in meetings and other times. It means she takes time to listen with care. It means she listens to her inner voice which speaks in quiet. It means she listens to God in nature and cares for the natural world and her body. She lives as a listener so that she might know what to speak, to share, and to respond.
A sister makes a vow of Purity by endeavoring, through self-examination and deep inner work, to learn who we are, who she is to become as the person God wants her to be, and to reconcile the two. She desires God’s desire for her. She accepts the integrity and dignity and wholeness of all others. She accepts the gifts of the Holy Spirit to live with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control. She frees herself to love.
“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then... you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it... And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death. And some never awaken.”
―Anaïs Nin, from The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934
we must bring
our own light
nobody is going
to do it
Our house practice and way of life has been established over the cycles. refugi operates to its own rhythm and pace. The heartbeat of the mountain is steady, true and on fire. It is built upon simple, tried and tested things that work.
The early practices formed during The Hermit Years, as we like to call them, are the foundations of this church, this temple, this heart inside a house inside a mountain. They form the basis of the patiently knitted together practice that takes place.
There are three main simple practices, summarised in the line: The Blunt and Loving Sweeper of Time and Life.
PRACTICE ONE: A liturgy of The Hours
Oh Virginia, Oh Mrs Dalloway, Oh The Hours - if only we had listened.
Across every single religion and human faith there is an honouring of the passing of time. The Liturgy of the Hours, The Sounding of the Bell, The Call to Prayer. The passing of day into night and season upon season is a fundamental part of our human experience. The cycles to which we human animals are part of. And we have always worshipped it. Always looked to time.
Checking our watches and punching our time clocks. Paying by the hour.
When I came here I put down my understanding of time. In order to learn something new. There are no clocks that work in my home. I work to calendars few might recognise. I pay attention to the moon and the stars. The seasons and the rhythm of my own body. I have trained myself over the years to know the sound of my own bell. To be a Daykeeper.
A reminder to stay with it. Stay present, stay in practice, stay. Just stay.
Within the structure of a daily rhythm, I sit for a moment and gently notice the rhythm of breath. I invite you to do so too. Notice our bodies, our surroundings, what we see, hear, smell. The stopping itself is prayer. An invitation to rest in restorative silence. To carrying ourselves wherever we go.
If you come to The Mountain, we invite you to abandon time in order to reclaim it as your own.
It is an opportunity for your heartbeat to match the heartbeat of the universe.
Time. It's all about time. And Time is an Art; Time is Art.
PRACTICE TWO: Sweeping
(or The Way of the Bald Monk who says fuck a lot)
Occasionally, from time to time, us humans can get a little to over-attached to our thinking minds and our emotional rivers. We become a swirling storm of suffering and confusion. There is a practice for this. Do not come to me with your drama or your suffering until you have spent an hour sweeping in silence. I will do the same. If either of us forget, we are there to remind each other and pass on the broom. It is the single most effective practice there is apart from breathing and maybe doing the washing up. Sweep.
PRACTICE THREE: Down to Earth like the Ammas, White not Red
In the early Christian faith, many House Churches were led by women. They were spiritual guides; teachers and leaders of their monastic communities. They were simple and straightforward. Blunt and savvy. They name what needs to be named.
And so there is this, the final of the three practices, stated bluntly and wisely so that all may hear:
The Desert Fathers and Mothers practiced white martyrdom as opposed to red martyrdom. Sacrificing one’s life is not what happens here. We stay alive.
The true contemplative is not one who prepares his mind for a particular message that he wants or expects to hear, but is one who remains empty because he knows that he can never expect to anticipate the words that will transform his darkness into light. He does not even anticipate a special kind of transformation. He does not demand light instead of darkness. He waits on the Word of God in silence, and, when he is answered it is not so much by a word that bursts into his silence. It is by his silence itself, suddenly, inexplicably revealing itself to him as a word of great power, full of the voice of God.
— Thomas Merton, writer, theologian and mystic