Why would a Harvard grad who claims to be a writer spend 3 years in a monastery in his 20s and then wait 23 more to tell the story? The episode below gives the answer: how this story came to be, why it took so long to tell it and what were my top 5 takeaways from my time with the monks.
I started by saying to myself: I’m just going to make a book for me and see what I think of it.
By day 4 of that process, as I dove into the images, re-crafted the copy, unearthed on apple music some chants from the monasteries where I lived, I was in a real sense transported back in time. Knees on the tile floor, ears wide open, eyes riveted on the altar, heart stilled. I was back there in the monastery – back in spirit. It was like time travel.
I now saw that the work that began there, some 26 years earlier – I’m not talking about the work on the book, I’m talking about the work in my heart – I now saw that that work had never stopped. There was a plumb line of the heart that ran from Paris to Curriere en Chartreuse, France to Monte Corona, Italy, to Boston, to Washington DC, and all the way back to Loveland, Ohio. It snapped taught and I could see the straight line.
The message of the monks was not locked back in time, in some dusty trunk of my past life. It was outside of time. It ran beneath time, like an underground river. I just hadn’t dug deep enough to re-discover it. Until now.
“I have to do this,” I said to myself by Day 4. “I have to finish this.”