What I … Believe ??? Querying My Monastic Life …

[ In reviewing past work for this site, I came across
a printed, text-only copy that I faintly recall making
of a ‘social media’ exchange in which I was the subject.

In one of the comments, a woman stated that she would
very much like to “… find out what he believes”.

Why people will ‘talk’ about me – but not TO me –
I cannot fathom, but perhaps the writer
will be content with the reply below … – PL ]

Division is not caused by those
who separate themselves from Evil;

Division is caused by those
who embrace it.

I noticed, when reading one Internet conversation
about me in May of last year,
that I was repeatedly referred to as … “a recluse” …
and was being clearly regarded, in replies, as an anomaly.

If I am … it is certainly not by choice:

Because I have no interest in what is popular
and pleasing to the vast majority,
rather than broaden their horizons
to find fulfilment in something other than toys, TV, and titillation,

folk prefer to ignore me
and what I represent.

I do not avoid people.
They avoid me.

“Recluse” is not fair.

The plainly observable notion of “friendship”
that is held by multitudes
is nothing more than self-centred gratification
with superficial companions
joining in the pursuit of entertainment; ambition,
drunkenness, gluttony, or greed;

or, in the unity that comes in some form of
tribal sectarianism – social, religious, or national.

From my earliest memories as a child,
the course of my life has proven that,
once newly introduced acquaintances realise

that I do not accommodate myself to that mentality;
my company is not wanted.

Which means that – being friendless,
one is regarded with suspicion, distrust, and ridicule
by people who live for vanity and entertainment.

I have often said to students that, A Friend is someone
who will calmly tell you when you are wrong, foolish,
or bad-tempered; someone whose heart breaks
because your heart is broken.

And, if you ever have One such person in your life,
cherish them. You will probably never have two.

Most are hypocritical acquaintances whose congeniality
exists as long as you benefit them, and pose no threat
to their vanity, laziness, or ambition.

Unsettle any one of the three, and you will soon
discover how much your …’friendship’ … is valued.

Having no one to meet at a cafe for a chat, is not a pleasant;
and I have had many hopes, throughout life,
of meeting a like-minded soul.

But experience has more than shown that,
when one’s interests do not include TV, liquor,
possessions, or entertainment,
the fact is that no one wants to be in your company.

It was never my choice to be alone.

This very Internet site was an attempt to meet people ,
share thoughts, and even ‘links’ to photographs, hobbies,
and life where others lived.

But people arrive, read, and leave.

As a boy, I would buy a small bag of powdered
lemon toffee bon-bons at the newsagent,
approach boys and girls at school to say hello,
and offer them a sweet.

They reached into the bag.
Helped themselves.
And then walked away.

This Internet site has been no different.

When I was a little boy back in Ireland,
I used to take my books,
sit on one of the dry-stone stone walls,
and read to the sheep or horses
in the farmer’s field across the roadway.

When I would pause, and look up,
I would find the animals standing ten feet away
looking at me, listening in rapt attention
while I turned the page and continued reading.

The garden – with its birds and animals, is my
only remaining source of comfort and contentment.

やるせない …

That woman writing in the social media ‘thread’
stated that she would be interested to
“… know what he believes” …

Having explained arriving to this point,
I can only add that,

I am not a Buddhist – but the practical
day-to-day aspect of my life
would be largely indistinguishable
from that of a Zen monk in old Japan:

I eat simple food; lead life with a disciplined mind,
naturally avoid anything that is popular with the majority;
and own no gratuitous possessions …

… simplicity which I endeavoured to assure readers
(in the essay “Possessions and Freedom from Greed”)
will come to anyone who genuinely desires to remove
greed and apathy from their life.

I despise Bullies, Error-from-laziness, and Hypocrisy.

I refuse to be labelled an Evangelical Christian
when masses bearing the name clap, dance,
or sway trancelike, to amateur entertainers
in their Sunday morning social clubs, before spending
the next six days living ‘cleaned-up’ versions
of the pagan world around them.

NOTHING in the 21st century bears ANY resemblance
to the world in which I was raised as a boy –

everything that was good and proper in life,
has been perverted and degraded into the
‘Do What Thou Wilt’ degeneracy that defines
modern human society.

And whilst it may well be that I am
the only human being on earth who is
disgusted enough to refuse to embrace it,

that conscientious choice
leaves me without friends …

… which makes me a ‘weirdo’

– an object of distrust
to the world-wallowing masses.

I live as though I will one day stand to be judged
before God; and so live my life accordingly –
striving, despite constant failings,
to be holy before God, and humble before Men;

calmly refusing to compromise with evil and error;
and exercising moral discernment on all occasions.

It would be better if folk would simply
ask questions directly:
I am, after all, a very approachable fellow.

Seeing ones-self as the topic of Internet ‘chat’
is quite an alarming thing, and I hope that the
thoughts above will help to quell speculation and
answer the question of what I “believe”.

Those who lead a monastic life, do so by choice.

Mine is not by choice,
but the result of moral conscience
and a mind that does not pursue constant entertainment.

A “Recluse” … ???

only because people (in ‘life’ and the Internet)
do not want to associate with me.

I am … very simply ,
a Contented, Plain-living man

whom no one wants to know.

P Livingstone

Author: Mr Livingstone


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