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The Real Poop

You feel deeply connected with a spiritual force. You prefer to be alone with your thoughts. You really like wearing your bathrobe. And you're looking for a career that gels with all these traits; unfortunately becoming a Jedi isn't a viable career path (in this galaxy, anyway).

It's a lot nicer than The Book of Vader. (Source)

You may not be the next Obi-Wan, but if you're really interested in a life led in service to some unseen "force," you might be interested in something a little less Luke Skywalker and a little more The Book of Luke.

Yep, we're talking about becoming a nun or a monk. What is a nun or a monk? While this profile will focus mostly on the Friar Tuck kind, the full answer spans a lot of time, geographic regions, and world religions. 

Monasticism (living like a monk) has been around in one form or another since before 800 B.C. (source). Though the number has decreased steadily over the years, there are still thousands of nuns and monks in Buddhist, Jain, Taoist, Catholic, and Protestant religious orders carrying on this old profession today. Clearly, those early monks were on to something.

Nuns and monks live deeply spiritual lives, spend a lot of time alone, and their habits/orange robes/togas (depending) aren't that different from a bathrobe. Like becoming a Jedi, though, becoming a nun or a monk requires a lot of personal sacrifices on your part. Beyond the fact that your robe won't be made out of terrycloth, and that no, you don't get a light saber. You don't even get a salary (source).

That's right: if you choose this life, you work for free. Not even a Holy 401k.

What this means is that the general qualities of who'll make a good nun or monk are much different than the job requirements at a bank or coffee shop. You've got to love service without reward because you're going to be doing a lot of it. You'll need to treat all people with dignity, your house of worship with respect, and your particular religion with deference (a.k.a. when it tells you to jump, you get on the trampoline). 

You need to be wholesome enough to commit to a lifetime of celibacy, and you need to be generous enough to commit to a lifetime of poverty. And you need to really, really, really love God.

So what exactly are you committing yourself to, in this world and the next? Some religions (like Jainism) have a greater emphasis on yoga practices, fasting, and maintaining a strict vegetarian diet. Others allow communal meals. No matter the religion, though, the stuff you won't be allowed to do is pretty similar.

Well, buddy, it was nice knowing you... (Source)

Say goodbye to your cellphone, your television, and the laptop that you're probably reading this on right now. Some monks are forbidden even from singing or dancing. And you can kiss any hope of ever getting another kiss goodbye. 

Nuns and monks are celibate pretty much across the board. No spouse, no children, maybe not even chocolate.

Once you're ready to accept and be accepted into this lifestyle, you'll take your vows. Consider them your employment contract between you and a higher power. In exchange for a one-way ticket to a blissful afterlife, you're agreeing to give up all of your worldly possessions and desires. 

You'll spend your days in quiet reflection while attempting to reach for the greater purpose in life. Not a second of time will be spent playing Xbox.

Make no mistake, it can be an incredibly lonely life to sign up for—one where the only real upshots here are the free healthcare and that all-consuming love you have for your maker. It can also be one of the most soulful and fulfilling jobs you can have. The trouble is, you'll never know if it's right for you until you actually agree to do it.

Forever and ever.