How to Channel Your Inner Monk

Christine Valters Paintner, a Benedictine oblate and best-selling author, shares her tips for finding the mystic within.

Posted in , Jul 17, 2017

Author and Benedictine oblate Christine Valters Paintner

I believe that we all have an inner monk. It is the part of ourselves that longs for periods of silence and solitude, loves to commune with the divine in nature, and seeks times of retreat and restoration. It is that part of ourselves that knows there is more to life than surface appearances. More to our identities than how busy and productive we are. The monk in us revels in slowness and savors experience rather than rushing through life.

As author of The Soul of a Pilgrim and abbess of the virtual monastery, I help people from all over the world cultivate this part of themselves, as well as connect with others who have a similar hunger.  

So how can you tap into your inner monk? Here are some tips for cultivating the mystic within…

1. Commit to finding moments each day for silence and solitude
Make space for another voice to be heard, and resist a culture of noise and constant stimulation.

2. Commit to radical acts of hospitality 
Welcome the stranger both in the world and within yourself. Recognize that when we make space inside our hearts for the unclaimed parts of ourselves, we cultivate compassion and the ability to accept those places in others.

Christine Valters Paintner's Monk Manifesto Meditation

3. Commit to cultivating community 
Find kindred spirits along the path. Soul friends with whom you can share your deepest longings, and mentors who can offer guidance and wisdom for your journey.

4. Commit to cultivating awareness of your kinship with creation
Practice a healthy asceticism. Discern your use of energy and things, letting go of anything that does not help nature to flourish.

5. Commit to being fully present to the work you do, whether paid or unpaid
Hold a heart of gratitude for the ability to express your gifts in the world in meaningful ways.

6. Commit to rhythms of rest and renewal
Observe a regular practice of Sabbath and resist a culture of busyness that measures your worth by what you do.

7. Commit to a lifetime of ongoing conversion and transformation
Recognize that you are always on a journey with both gifts and limitations.

8. Commit to being a “dancing monk”
Cultivate creative joy. Let your body and "heart overflow with the inexpressible delights of love."

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