Without meaning to sound too dramatic, it's been more tricky than I imagined coming back to England after having spent most of the year in France at Eleusis. The journey back was somewhat turbulent, which may have sort of set the tone for a wobbly experience, and I had heard reports of a Brexit related depression, sweeping the country, as people start to digest the very real implications of the controversial result.
Paris was intense but interesting and London felt cold and impersonal(no change there). I spent a night wandering the streets after some unfortunate travel issues scuppered my arrangements for somewhere to stay. This was like a trip down memory lane to the days of my youth, some good memories of somewhat chaotic nights out with no way of getting back, hours spent huddled in doorways and shopping centres waiting for the first bus home. But it also touched some darker memories of being homeless in times of crisis, a sense of nowhere to go and no one to tell!
From Bessais le Fromental to inner city London is quite a leap in terms of cultural difference and I was struck by the contrast between the quaint and peaceful place that I'd just come from, deep in the French countryside, and the continuous drone of the urban sprawl, generating busyness unrelentingly. It felt like re-joining the human race in some ways. Being drawn back into the collective experience and subsequently tangled up with it's energy. As if no matter how much I wanted to preserve the fruits of my solitude, I was powerless to resist the momentum of town life. It has, however, served to highlight the significance of my time at Eleusis in the context of spiritual training. To palpably sense the gravity of the secular world, after being removed for long periods, is to gain insight into the power of it's hold on us as spiritually vulnerable beings. A fresh angle of vision on what it means to be enmeshed in this intense energy field, entranced by the cosmic light show from which emanates the Samsara/Nirvana dichotomy.
I never did change very well, and in the past have found comfort and security in the routine and the predictable. But this part of me has been continuously challenged and stretched over the past eighteen months of my monastic journey, revealing new and exciting aspects of me that were previously hidden and obsolete. This seems to be an indispensable facet of spiritual growth, a necessary revolution of foundations that once served to maintain what felt safe, but now provide the basis for transformation.
Namo Amida Bu.
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