Holy places

Holy places make it easier to feel holy.
Sit in an empty church and the atmosphere of devotion usually makes it easier to be in touch with your own holiness within you.
It’s not guaranteed: you can come out of a church as busy in your mind as when you went in.
But neither is a holy place required. Your connection to that which is beyond your everyday mind is within you. Your holiness is within you.
Holy places, like churches, or temples, or monasteries, can support you. But so, in the right circumstances, can an empty bus station or a park bench by the dustbins or a bridge over the motorway in the twilight.
I hope that you may be a little more in touch with your own holiness wherever you find yourself.
Sometimes all it takes is a few minutes of calm reflection to be more in touch with that which is deeper within us.
Sometimes, in a surprise to us, we are also granted a few moments of revelation, and the world never quite looks the same again.
Here’s an account of one of those moments of insight.

East London was not a monastery

On my way to a monastery in Germany
I stopped off in East London.
As I entered a coffee shop there
I knew that a monastery was a monastery
and that East London was not a monastery.

I sat in a window seat
with my daughter and her friend
working quietly on their laptops alongside
soft music playing
cake and coffee before me.

I watched the busy street outside.
I saw some people hurrying and others dawdling.
I saw them working towards joy.
I saw them living according to their values
and loving each other as best they could.

I could not see that East London was not a monastery.

Instead I saw my own error
for now I knew that the world before me
was a special kind of monastery
and the monastery I was going to
was a special kind of world.

I wept quietly at the ending of my error
for the ending of my error was the joyful start
of my living in a monastery
wherever I was.

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