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Identifying with Those Who Suffer Alone

Without doubt, there is great value in spirituality that emphasizes and supports withdrawal from society. But in our time, with its special needs. we require spirituality of intense involvement and radical engagement with the world . . . it is in the real world that the wisdom of the monks must be made accessible. It is in the real world that their awakening and development need to occur, not off in remote solitude . . . Why do I choose to be a monk in the world and not locked away in a remote hermitage? Because I want to identify with and be identified with all those who suffer alone in the world, who are abandoned, homeless, unwanted, unknown, and unloved. I want to know the insecurity and vulnerability they experience, to forge solidarity with them . . . I wish to be near the least, the forgotten, and ignored so I can be a sign of hope and love for them and for all others who need me in some way. 

Brother Wayne Teasdale
from A Monk in the World; Cultivating a Spiritual Life

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