Heightening the sense of being alive. That is what the quest is about. Making every moment count. Making every gesture aware. Choosing the monastic life is about reclaiming time. The time to be there. To notice what is happening. To enter into the stream of movement, of colour, of sound, of reality-out-of-reality. And at the same time, finding yourself smack in the middle of it.
The Monastery is a real-life community in the centre of Brussels (Rue de la Limite 93, 1210 Sint-Joost-ten-Node). It is a place where fulltime and part-time monks live together, following a monastic order of the day that repeats itself over and over again: 6AM Morning Ceremony, 7AM Yoga, 8AM Silent Breakfast, etcetera. The days are both disciplined and open. The community is both separate from the ‘regular’ world and porous to everyone who wants to drop by.
This Monastery is a transspiritual one: there is no religious reference point, no master narrative, no God to believe or not believe in. The monks are free to be the origin of their own spiritual paths, follow their own methodology. In the communal life, there is no Absolute Transcendence, only ‘transcendences’, as philosopher Bruno Latour would call them: everyday events and objects that gracefully escape our grasp, and show their uncanny hidden face if you approach them with devotion. What the monks share is the practice of everyday life. Sitting, singing, dancing, eating, cooking. They create communal and overlapping lives, sharing the same sleeping space, living in simplicity, and practicing openness and gratitude.
It is a practice that ‘listens’ to the other, willingly or reluctantly, in which bodies and minds tune into each other, creating an ever-changing landscape of interindividual exchange, of interbeing. With every monk that comes or goes, the Monastery changes palpably. The rhythm continues, but the sense of live-ness has changed considerably. In that sense, the Monastery is a place of commonality, as well as it is a place where the singularity of each of its members gets vitalised and becomes more visible.