Sunday Service: The Top Five Things I Learned from the Monastery

Monastery door

Week of May 11 – 17, 2014

Back in 2011, I went to live in a monastery in Delhi to see if monastic life was for me. I’ve since decided to strike a middle path, living in the world but taking on many of the aspects of monastic life, and that’s what the Philia Mission is all about (that and charity for the poor in Asia). But what I learned from my time in the monastery is still instructive.

We featured a talk about my early impressions of life in the monastery last week. This week we present a short talk about five of the biggest takeaways from my time in the monastery.

This article originally appeared in Home Education Magazine in 2013, and we’re reprinting it here with the hope that you also will find it fascinating and worthwhile.


Peter Kowalke


Brotherly loveThis Week’s Spiritual Talk

The Top Five Things I Learned from the Monastery

By Peter Kowalke

I have always taken my spirituality seriously and known what I am, but it wasn’t until 2010 that I found a monastic order that fit my spiritual beliefs. In 2011 I went to live in a Vedanta monastery and briefly trained as a monk.

Here are the top five things I learned from the experience. Of course there are many more.

(read more)


Teachings of the Christian MysticsBook of the Month

Teachings of the Christian Mystics

edited by Andrew Harvey

The Christian mystics remain little known among Vedantins and Christians alike, yet they explore many of the same ideas of Vedanta. This book takes selections from all eras of the Christian tradition, including Francis of Assisi, Julian of Norwich, Teresa of Avila, Thomas Merton and others.

(get the book)

Other books we recommend can be found in our Books section. We also recommend YouTube videos, audio lectures and web sites, among other resources.


Spiritual Fitness

Do You have a Spiritual Routine?

Vedanta, if not practical, has no other relevancy. The key to practical Vedanta is an individualized spiritual routine.

There are six components of a good spiritual routine.

Swan1. Find a Community. If you have an existing church, temple or mosque, attend regularly. If not, join our Facebook group and see our list of recommended spiritual organizations.

2. Seek Guidance. Find a mentor within your existing spiritual community or contact us for a referral.

3. Attend Spiritual Services Regularly. If you don’t live near an appropriate spiritual community, we offer a weekly spiritual talk delivered by email, Facebook and Twitter. We also host a regular Vedanta Dinner for those who live in the New York City area.

4. Incorporate Individual Study. We keep a list of books and resources for your individual study needs.

5. Take Responsibility for Your Spiritual Life. Read our talk about listening to your own inner compass and contact us when you have a question that your spiritual community isn’t answering adequately.

6. Leverage Rituals Thoughtfully. As an example, read our essay about the power of saying grace.

Our longer talk about spiritual routine can be found here.

Happy Sunday! Peace be unto you. Peace be unto all.

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