Thursday, January 5, 2012

Vita Contemplativa

How I long to retire at the end of the day to a book or writing tablet and collect my thoughts!  Don't worry.  A monastery is not for me.  I’m not the monkish type, not completely.  True, I like quietude and a sparse setting.  The ascetic lifestyle has its drawbacks, however, one of them being hypocrisy: few are those who really stay the monastic course.  Anyway, the contemplative life is of little value without an active engagement in the world—without a vita activa.  What would I write about?  I observed the code of silence again today, gave Jacques a menacing look when I passed the bread bowl, and reflected on how my life royally sucks in this here cloister.

One should suffer the slings and arrows a bit, see the world a little, jump into the fray every now and then.  Like most melancholy souls whose career path requires leadership and social interaction, I look forward to quiet time whenever I can get it: just a book, a few cordials, and me.  We don’t seem to value the vita contemplativa anymore.  Things went downhill after the fifteenth century, as far as I’m concerned.  What with the constant bombardment of electronic technology, it’s hard to have time to contemplate life’s essential questions.  Geez, the only way I can communicate with my kids at the dinner table is to text them!  Jessi, you have ketchup on your chin.  LOL  By the way, how was school today?  I’m not asking for a lot here.  Okay, maybe I am.  I would love to spend hours and hours reading about the Ottoman Empire, inhaling apricot tea through a hookah pipe, and trying to resolve my existential crisis.  Sadly, such leisure time is a precious commodity when you’re running in the rat race.