Raising a family may be exhausting and seem to leave little time for specific “spiritual practice,” but it is all about other-centeredness. It is a good preparation for meditation. Conversely, monastic life may give us time for prayer but may also keep us in a shallow state of dissatisfaction, repeating the same unproductive cycles of thought and behavior. But it can be a good preparation for serving the world. We are attracted to the other-centered option because we crave relationship and connection, which, combined, deliver us into the experience of meaning. Marriage, family, friendship, community, service are all ways in which we can learn to pay attention to others. Very quickly, however, we realize that other-centeredness is hard to do and even harder to sustain. Yet we also realize that we are better, more free and more open to love when we are learning to live in this way. Then we see that the spiritual path is a work. In fact, it is a work of love.
—from the book Sensing God: Learning to Meditate during Lent by Laurence Freeman, OSB