The first step is recognizing the Noble Truth: that some dissatisfaction comes into our lives and alternatives are sought. For many, there is something that registers as ‘interesting’ – or even inspiring – and we all come back to writing.
The process of training a monk or nun or writer is one that involves time and is not just about ‘learning the rules.’ There is much that can only be learned by patient observation.
The new novice is expected to commit to a stay of one year’s training under the general guidance of the sangha (Mentors). The ordination ceremony itself is quite simple. It would usually be in the evening on a full moon day, as part of the community’s usual observance, and the candidate would have had help learning the necessary chanting and the ‘choreography’ of the ritual. (I was planning on editing this out, but it’s actually true–chant and perform away young novices! You’ll be amazed how it can affect your writing!)
Respect for elders is a significant part of defining the monastic ‘container.’ As a novice, or junior member of the sangha, one obviously arrives with a range of preferences and views. In a mentorship life, there must always be a readiness to relinquish these and ‘bow’ down to the lead suggested by more senior members of the sangha.
The general process is one of patience, calmness, and humility. Monasteries and mentorships are blessed in that they don’t have production quotas, and training is able to be seen as a lifetime’s work. There is no hurry. Relax. Write. Create.