It is only 2 months since I took the Going Forth as a nun, yet life in a brown robe is certainly very different from that of an anagarika. The hustle and bustle of cooking, driving, serving, endless washing, suddenly dissolves and develops another momentum. One is no longer running ahead of oneself in a frantic battle to ensure that the material environment is OK, because control over that material plane has been relinquished. Surrender is the most constant invitation, and in numerous situations the only possibility. The monastic form, the numerous rules of deportment and behaviour are there keeping watch, checking throughout the day and helping to centre and still the restless, confused, fiery energies of an untrained mind. I must admit, a few purifying fires have raged through during my two years as an anagarika, and although there is plenty more to burn away, the preliminary flamer have made it possible to live in what can seem like a pretty tight box. (Of course there is a sense, perhaps the best word is "faith", a kind of intuitive knowledge that the box is an illusion.) Allowing oneself to be locked in also leads to the eventual discovery that the box isn't really there at all, and the freedom to gaze at the marvellous.
Sister Viveka was one of the women who took the ten-precept ordination at Amaravati in July. During her first Vassa as a siladhara she offered these reflections on the Going Forth.