By Patrick Leigh Fermor
Whereas nonetheless undefined, Patrick Leigh Fermor made his method throughout Europe, as acknowledged in his vintage memoirs, A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water. in the course of global conflict II, he fought with neighborhood partisans opposed to the Nazi occupiers of Crete. yet in A Time to maintain Silence, Leigh Fermor writes a few extra inward trip, describing his a number of sojourns in a few of Europe’s oldest and such a lot venerable monasteries. He remains on the Abbey of St. Wandrille, a very good repository of artwork and studying; at Solesmes, well-known for its revival of Gregorian chant; and at the deeply ascetic Trappist monastery of l. a. Grande Trappe, the place priests take a vow of silence. eventually, he visits the rock monasteries of Cappadocia, hewn from the stony spires of a moonlike panorama, the place he seeks a few hint of the lifetime of the earliest Christian anchorites.
More than a heritage or commute magazine, even though, this gorgeous brief publication is a meditation at the which means of silence and solitude for contemporary lifestyles. Leigh Fermor writes, “In the seclusion of a cell—an lifestyles whose quietness is barely diverse via the silent food, the solemnity of formality, and lengthy solitary walks within the woods—the stricken waters of the brain develop nonetheless and transparent, and masses that's hidden away and all that clouds it floats to the outside and will be skimmed away; and after a time one reaches a country of peace that's unthought of within the usual world.”
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But the religious has to face his or her pettiness twenty-four hours a day, three hundred and sixty-five days a year. If properly and wholeheartedly pursued, the monastic life liberates us from ourselves—incrementally, slowly, and imperceptibly. Once a monk has transcended his ego, he will experience an alternative mode of being. It is an ekstasis, a “stepping outside” the confines of self. The ascetics of India have pursued the same goal and their way of life is remarkably similar to that of Christian monks.
It is an ekstasis, a “stepping outside” the confines of self. The ascetics of India have pursued the same goal and their way of life is remarkably similar to that of Christian monks. They designed the disciplines of yoga, for example, precisely to take the “I” out of their thinking. They thus acquired a new vision, finding that once it was no longer regarded self-referentially, even the humblest object revealed a numinous quality. Yogins train themselves to do the opposite of what comes naturally: they learn to sit without the motion that is a sign of life, as though they were statues or plants; they control their respiration, the most reflexive of our bodily functions; and they learn to curb the stream of restless thoughts that ceaselessly invade the human mind.
Bobbio he only abandoned to found the Abbey that bears his name. Here, after performing countless miracles and casting out numbers of devils, he died in an odour of sanctity. The Abbey grew and prospered and no fewer than seventeen of his successors were canonised. During the abbacy of St. Hugh, nephew of the Charles Martel who drove the Moors from south-west France about half a century before the reign of Charlemagne, the Abbey reached its territorial apogee; for St. Hugh, besides being abbot of the great foundation of Jumièges, was archbishop of Rouen and bishop of Paris and Bayeux, and the Abbey possessed parishes and priories all over the north of France and as far afield as Burgundy and even Provence.
A Time to Keep Silence by Patrick Leigh Fermor