In case you have never seen one, a Rule of Life is a set of guiding principles by which religious vow to live. Monastic orders all have them, and Solitaries generally compose their own. They often follow the format below. In my case it at least had to include the three traditional vows (poverty, chastity and obedience) plus a description of my praxis. Some Rules are quite extensive and specific, resembling a corporate charter with extensive provisions for daily schedules, advisory boards, etc. At the other extreme, I've seen one that was a single sentence.
For mine, I felt it was better to articulate the guiding essence of what I'm doing, and that specifics would be too limiting in this context. So this one is fairly brief, as Rules go. Here goes.
+In the Name of God, Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier.
By the grace of God, I offer my life as a Solitary of God, to live in union with God, surrendering myself to be totally immersed in the mystery and love of God.
My vocation is to seek the perfection of Divine Love, devoting my life to continually deepening my relationship with God, in a covenant of love, through prayer in silence and solitude.
By these vows, I seek to be free from hindrances and remove all barriers to perfect intimacy with God, seeking God before all else, and only him.
- Poverty. Recognizing my spiritual poverty, I cast myself upon divine mercy, empty, waiting, thirsty for God’s grace.
- Chastity. I vow fidelity to God and to this Rule, to love God with an undivided heart.
- Obedience. I vow to empty myself of any ambition of my own, surrendering totally to God’s grace, listening attentively at all times to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
- Silence. I vow to entrust myself to a “living and vigilant silence,” to listen and wait upon the voice of the Holy One.
- Solitude. I vow to seek God in solitude, trusting that all I need comes from God alone.
I will live out these vows through a practice of prayer, contemplation, reading, study and work, including:
- Regular participation in the Sacraments of the Church.
- Daily recitation of the Daily Office according to the Book of Common Prayer.
- Daily practice of contemplative prayer and Lectio Divina.
- Ongoing reading and study in contemplative spirituality.
- Ongoing spiritual direction.
- Regular journaling and writing spiritual reflections.
- Honoring God’s presence and love in my relationships with others.
- Maintaining a residence as a place of enclosure, and limiting interaction with other people to those that are necessary for sustaining a healthy, balanced life and this vocation.
- Simple living and responsible stewardship, owning only what is necessary for a healthy, balanced life and sustaining this vocation, in harmony with this Rule.
- Seeking physical, emotional and spiritual balance, treating myself with respect and compassion.