We are being called to something ancient yet new – to integrate the contemplative practices of the monasteries into our ordinary, everyday lives. For centuries, these practices were cloistered away, but now they are jumping the walls and coming to meet us right where we are.

We can begin to sing and chant sacred words, allowing the vibrations to attune our bodies and souls. Finding a verse, mantra, or poem that echoes in our hearts, we can gently repeat it as a way to enter the Presence. We don’t have to wait for the perfect time or mental stillness – we can start in the midst of the noise and busyness.

The scriptures can become something alive that we dialogue with, rather than merely study. Taking a bite of a passage, we can slowly chew it over, savoring it, resting in it, letting it nourish us. We don’t have to agree with every word – the wrestling and questions are part of the process of going deeper.

From the monastics, we can learn the art of deep listening – encountering others with our full, unhurried presence beyond just their words. This way of being can permeate all our interactions, whether studying, working, or with family and friends.

We are invited to find the balance of prayer and activity, of contemplation and engagement with the world. Our lives can become a living prayer. We can remain stable and faithful to the situations we’re in to fully receive their teachings. Simplicity can ground us amidst the complexities of modern life.

And perhaps most profoundly, we can join the monastics in their intercessory prayers for the world’s immense sufferings, holding all in the embrace of compassion. For at our core, we know we are not separate, but intimately interconnected with the whole of the cosmos.


Contemplative practices like chanting sacred verses, meditatively reading and “chewing” on scripture, and deeply listening to others are leaving the cloistered walls of monasteries and being integrated into ordinary modern lives. Chanting or singing mantras from prayer, poetry, or songs we’re drawn to can connect us to the Divine through vibration. Slowly digesting small passages of scripture by resting with them facilitates an intimate dialogue with God beyond rational analysis. Deep listening, as exemplified by monks and nuns, involves encountering others’ full humanity rather than just their words. These contemplatives model bringing this presence into all spheres of life, not just formal prayer. Other highlighted monastic practices include balancing prayer and work, staying faithful to a place to receive its teachings, living simply, and interceding through prayer for the world’s sufferings. The invitation is to authentically weave these ancient wisdom practices into our daily rhythms as modern lay practitioners.

Key Points

1. Contemplative practices like chanting, reading scripture, and deep listening are moving out of monasteries and into ordinary lives.

2. Chanting or singing sacred words/verses can be a powerful contemplative practice to connect with the Divine.

3. Slowly reading and meditating on scripture (like the Psalms) by “chewing” on small passages can lead to a felt dialogue with God.

4. Deep listening, as modeled by monks/nuns, involves encountering the other person’s full humanity beyond just words.

5. Monks/nuns integrate contemplative listening into all areas of life, not just prayer.

6. Other monastic practices highlighted include:
– Balance of prayer and work (ora et labora)
– Stability/fidelity to place/situation to learn its lessons
– Simplicity of life
– Intercessory prayer for the world’s suffering

7. The invitation is to purposefully integrate these ancient practices into modern daily life in an authentic, personal way.