Sometimes Sensei asks me," do I feel like a monk?" I have to say no, I just feel like a weirdo, but I do the work, I stick with it and sometimes some insight or delight hits and then I feel like.. something.
I often think it would be wonderful to live in a monastery, among dozens of others, having a daily routine but then I realize what a fantasy that is, not a bad one, just another fantasy. If I mention it to Sensei she firmly derides it and reminds me that the grass is never really greener on the other side of the fence. She also likes to point out that the work will be the same wherever I go... I hate it when she's right.
But really when we have lived in monastic settings I did enjoy it very much. I like access to practice routines, group meditation, study, I like the sense of community, of contributing and sharing support.
The other day a fellow student at the college asked about my living situation and remarked it must be hard. I know there are others out there in similar situations. It is good to keep in touch with them, that is why I hope to attend the Western Buddhist Monastic Gathering. If I can't go for some reason I can enjoy the contact vicariously by others attending.
Someday when I have graduated and am developing a health provider practice that coincides with this spiritual practice I would like to visit communities and eventually settle into a few. In the Buddha's day monks roamed most of the year but settled together in the rainy season, perhaps we will be able to do such a thing. I have experienced and would like to give to others the benefits of Body Mind Support for the practice of the BuddhaDhamma.