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Hermits and the Pursuit of Inner Peace, Part 2 of 2

2024-06-14
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The late Reverend Thomas Merton (vegetarian) who was an American Trappist monk, mystic and interfaith dialogue promoter, wrote beautifully about the life of a hermit. “The great work of the solitary life is gratitude. The hermit is one who knows the mercy of God better than others because his whole life is one of complete dependence, in silence and in hope, upon the hidden mercy of our Heavenly Father. The further I advance into solitude, the more clearly I see the goodness of all things. In order to live happily in solitude, I must have a compassionate knowledge of the goodness of others, a reverent knowledge of the goodness of all creation and a humble knowledge of the goodness of my own body and of my own soul.”

Supreme Master Ching Hai (vegan) has lived in spiritual solitude for various parts of Her life. Her reflections give us a glimpse of what living alone may be like, and how little is required to maintain such a lifestyle. She has also spoken of the spiritual benefits that She experienced while in seclusion, and fondly recalls Her time spent in a cave in Spain. “Around is all trees and bushes, bird-, squirrel-, rabbit-people, and stuff like that. Oh, beautiful place! There’s nothing, really, just that. But, for me, it’s beautiful, because it’s so quiet. But in that cave, I had the biggest ever realization. And the Gift that I gave some of you, also from that time.”

Many of those who choose to go on spiritual retreats and pursue a life of spiritual seclusion also tend to adopt a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. They express a deep connection with nature and exhibit compassion towards our animal friends. Saint Francis of Assisi (vegetarian), the acclaimed Patron Saint of Ecology and animal-people, is a shining example. He lovingly addressed his avian audience as his “sweet little sisters, birds of the sky” and said: “You are bound to Heaven, to God, your Creator. In every beat of your wings and every note of your songs, praise Him. He has given you the greatest of gifts, the freedom of the air.” The bird-folk stayed until they received a blessing from Saint Francis before flying away. Hence, even in spiritual solitude, one can be blessed by experiencing a profound connection with nature and the affectionate people of the animal kingdom. It’s important to remember that the serene quality of the vegan diet can also aid in supporting a hermit’s mission to cultivate a more Heavenly world.
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2024-06-08
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2
2024-06-14
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