Seeking Sanctuary: Reduce Stress at a Monastery

The tranquility of a monastery can offer a precious break from stress.

| January/February 2005

Across the country, hundreds of retreats, monasteries, cloisters, and abbeys located in out-of-the-way places—and some in unexpected city settings—offer sanctuary to all who seek it. No matter which retreat you choose, one thing is universal to the experience: The tools needed to balance mind, body, and spirit come with the room.

Mark Perew, a Santa Ana, California, programmer, says he keeps returning to St. Andrews, a Benedictine abbey in Valyermo, California, because his visits change the way he views himself. “There I learned I can be by myself, but I don’t have to be alone,” he says. “The monks follow a regimen of prayer, singing, and silence. Entering into that pattern helps me get in tune with the spiritual presence.”

Although the motivations of sanctuary visitors are as unique as their personalities and histories, those who host them notice a common theme. “A word we often see written in our registry book is peace,” says Brother Raphael Prendergast of the Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist, Kentucky.

The quiet, often remote settings allow for introspection, reconnection, and a flowering of inherent wisdom. “Here guests get themselves back,” says Ryushin Marchaj, a senior monastic at Zen Mountain Monastery in Mt. Tremper, New York. “People recognize their own strength, their vastness, and their foibles.”

Most Zen monasteries begin and end every day with zazen, several hours of sitting meditation. Guests who have few opportunities for silence in their regular lives find this very powerful. Leslie Farmer, a journalist who stayed at Green Dragon Zen Monastery in Sausalito, California, says the meditation aspect gave her the sense she’d stepped into another culture. “This place had a peaceful atmosphere you can’t find at a hotel,” she says.

Finding Sanctuary

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: August 4-5, 2018
Albany, OR

Sit in on dozens of practical workshops from the leading authorities on natural health, organic gardening, real food and more!


Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265