Almost twenty years ago, I sat on the front porch of an A-frame perched on a ridge at Zen Mountain Monastery gazing at a star-filled Catskill Mountain sky. At that point, I knew it wasn't working out. I was going to leave.
I had absolutely no idea what my next move would be.
For decades, I had thought, "once the kids are grown, I can finally DO IT!" At long last, I would leave the chaos of contemporary life and head for the hills. There I'd find the Teacher and a sangha -- and really get spiritual.
Now, after only six months of residency, I knew I was done.
So much for that idea. Now what?
Though I respected many of the folks involved, and saw that the monastic life appeared to work for some, I now knew it wasn't for me. I wasn't going to get off that easy. I was going to have to get out there on the streets and work it out for myself -- again.
I wish it was always that easy.