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by the whirling dance
Of people, objects and spirits

The Monastery is created through relation. Through the appeal of the other. Through the ways our lives intertwine and form patterns. Through the ways, we get moved by the other, out of our comfort zone, onto unstable grounds. The whole monastic life is about other-ing. Tuning, adapting, learning. But not in the sense of creating a uniform group identity, rather as a constantly morphing, porous whole, without clear limits or territories. Our community consists of the monks, the guests, the visitors, the participants to workshops, the people from the neighbourhood, the Brussels scene, the world events…The practice of ‘other-ing’ in that sense zooms in and out, linking the personal to the political, the internal to the external, the micro to the macro. Becoming vulnerable to being touched by the other, is what renders us potentially ecstatic: prone to step out of ourselves, into the world and into the other. Allowing us to meet them without judgment or preconception. Because we recognise them for what they are through the recognition our own fragility.

Our relation to the world is created through desire: the curiosity to learn, to transform, to come closer to other-ness, to difference. It is desire that entices us to connect, to love. It is desire that charms us out of our habits and certainties. An objectless desire, without the aim to be fulfilled. A desire that creates an outward movement. From the nest to the world, and back again. It creates an ecology of being-in-relation that connects us not only to other people, but also to all the other things that influence our being-in-the-world: the food that enters us and becomes our body, the political decision-making processes that transform our environments, the language that allows or prohibits us to experience ‘reality’, the bird that got stuck in an oil spill.

Other-ing is becoming aware that we are not. But relation.

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