I'm A Silent Non-Religious Monk And I'm Finally Revealing My Secret To Serenity

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What It's Like to Live as a Non-Religious Monk, in Silence
Self

I rarely talk. I am extremely comfortable going for days, even weeks without ushering a word. I will talk on occasion, and I do speak with my roommates ... but rarely, and only to share minimal amounts of information because the truth of it all is that I'm a silent person, and I really adore my little non-verbal world. 

I won't get on the phone to make chit-chat, nor will I get on Zoom meetings to catch up with old friends. I'm not anti-social, though I am asocial, which basically means that I would prefer the company of my own mind; the less contact with people, the better. I never offer myself up for social occasions, and I am one hundred percent satisfied with my inner world, my imagination and my solitude.

I am a monk. And my religion, my spiritual path is the one where I worship nature.

There is no God, no deity, no embodiment of spirit; there is only the universe and all of its laws. I have been this way for my entire lifetime, and I've always known deep in my heart that this is who I am, and this is the kind of life that brings me the most contentment.

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As a monk, I am fairly one-pointed; simplicity is key for me as is routine. Routine makes my life predictable, less complex, and easier to live. I do not have dreams for the future, nor do I have ties to the past.

And for all of the grandiose and pretentious topics I write about, for all the showing off I do, for all the heroic acts I like to associate myself with — there is a truth behind the mask, and that truth is that I am a loner — signed, sealed and delivered. And as a loner, I prefer to build my universe on my own, my way, in my own time: alone.

There is another side to me as well. On the flip side of all this, I'm an exhibitionist, a blatant show-off, and an uninhibited leader. Public speaking never bothered me, nor do spur-of-the-moment ideas that might occur, in the event I were to be on stage in front of thousands of people.

I have no problem whatsoever being in the center of the spotlight, and I could regale my stories freely and fearlessly — if I were on stage. But put me in the audience, and I start to grow anxious. As long as that invisible wall protects me from being an audience member, I can stand on a stage and entertain for hours on end. But if I'm in the audience, I'll seek out the exit signs, rarely making it to the end of a show.

I could swoop in like a black ops agent and save women from oppression. I will stand as an example for all the women who can't speak up for themselves, and I will happily write essays that expose my life and put me up for ridicule because I think of my 'outside' life — meaning my exhibitionistic written life — as what I do to make a living. 

I could do a TED talk on any number of topics and by the end of it, I will have ranks of rebel warriors all ready to fight 'til the death. This is what happens when people respond to charisma, which is also why I like to keep mine on the back burner.

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But my actual life? My life is about communing with spirits, angels, invisible beings.

My life is about gardening, healthy cooking, cleaning, contemplation, meditation, reading and ... listening. My life is about creating art.

I talk to myself, in fact, I crack myself up. I rely upon the jokes I tell myself to survive, because, well, I am hysterically funny.

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I practice magic and witchcraft, though I wouldn't say I follow any particular path. I simply believe in the science and respect of the universal laws of nature and abide by them to the best of my abilities.

If I need something, I manifest it by applying the Law of Attraction, and if something needs balance in my life, I put into practice the Law of Polarity, which allows me to scientifically imagine the full scale of possibilities and outcomes; this gives me perspective and the chance to find a middle ground — and middle ground is where balance is.

I do not believe in God, a god, or religion. I am, in fact, anti-religious, and have been my entire life. I do believe that people are helped by the beings they put their belief in, however, and I respect the needs of human beings as we all do things in our own individual ways. I will be honest, though: if there is a God, it's David Bowie.

I do believe in the mystical power of nature, and it is in nature that I replenish my power and that nature might mean the inner workings of my mind or time spent in my Moon Garden. Nature brings me peace. Growing things gives me peace. Staring at the night sky enriches my time here on earth, and sitting around, reading the Tao te Ching, or The Kybalion, while sipping iced Jasmine tea, in a garden that smells of flowers I planted and nurtured myself, brings me great stillness.

I cherish stillness and peace much more than I cherish flamboyance and noise.

I never minded making a fool of myself for money — as I do every time I publish a new memoir or another blog on what imbecilic thoughts I had that day. Those things don't matter to me, as I am in a flux state when I write: I'm all in ... until I'm all out.

I have no glue that sticks me to past writings or major sharings. I am like everyone else who works for a living. I write to get paid, and getting paid gets me money for tea, tiles, flower boxes, healthy food. Getting paid allows me to be a monk, and that is the one constant in my life.

No matter how popular I am, or how many people follow me, no matter what people think of me — good or bad — I am always a monk, a person of silence and solitude.

I am my own deity, and I treasure my time here on earth. I will watch my body corrode and fall away, and I will die knowing that I loved and respected the flesh suit in which I lived. This female body served me well, goodness, she went through so much just to get me to this age. But I am her mind, her thoughts. I am the one who doesn't age, the one who can see through her five-year-old eyes just as easily as I can see through them now.

I am the one who makes the decisions now; my body simply comes along for the journey.

I choose to live in peace, in silence, in nomadic solitude.

My goal is to become as boring as a Buddha, my only grail being peace.

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Dori Hartley is primarily a portrait artist. As an essayist and a journalist, she can be read in The Huffington Post, ParentDish, YourTango, The Daily Beast, Psychology Today, More Magazine, XOJane, MyDaily and The Stir. Her art books ‘Beauty’, ‘Antler Velvet’, and 'Mads Mikkelsen: Portraits of the Actor' are all available on Amazon.