This image shows the main topics I write about on this blog: meditation, monasteries, productivity, and strategy.
These topics may seem unrelated to each other, but to me, they are deeply connected and mutually supportive.
Meditation and monasteries relate to contemplative practice. Contemplative practice is concerned with accurate perception of reality, with a view towards transcendence. There are many contemplative practices, and many reasons to do contemplative practice, including a desire to increase individual quality of life or an aspiration towards classical enlightenment or awakening. Meditation is a form of contemplative practice; monasteries are organizations structured around a community with a shared set of contemplative practices, values, and goals.
Productivity and strategy relate to effective action in the world. Productivity is a philosophy and practice of doing work effectively as well as joyfully – so that we can express ourselves and grow through our work. Strategy is the art of coordinating our actions with others in groups and organizations, both hierarchical and networked, so that the chance of attaining individual and collective goals is maximized.
The relationship between contemplative practice and effective action in the world might be described as perception and behavior, as transcendence and transformation, or as Awakening and Responsibility.
We might also group these four skills in terms of whether they are concerned with the individual or the collective. Individuals practice meditation and improve their productivity skills; monasteries are organizations, and strategy is by and large most useful when interacting with multiple people, groups, or organizations.
These two distinctions fit neatly into a 2×2:
These connections might help to explain why I am deeply passionate about these topics. It’s not an exaggeration to say that meditation practice has helped me in virtually every aspect of my life. Monasteries have been instrumental in helping me to deepen my meditation practice. I want to see monasteries flourish in the modern world, so that the benefits of deep contemplative practice can be available to more people. Productivity and strategy are critical skills in realizing that vision. An alliance that may seem strange at first glance may prove vital to the realization of inner and outer peace, not just for a few lucky humans, but for all life on earth.