As I have often said, happiness consists in knowing what you want, and then knowing you have it, or you are on the way to getting it. What we want is God. Our hearts will not rest until they rest in you, O Lord. Our minds seek infinite truth. Our hearts are made for infinite love. The purpose of the structures of our life — of going apart from the world in silence and solitude — is so that we can keep alive, at that level of knowing, who we are and what we really want. Through contemplative prayer and spiritual experiences, we then know that, to some extent, we have it now or are on the way of getting it. This is the meaning of Cistercian life: we are on the way. We have committed ourselves. It is the life of the “stricter observance” in the sense that we are really committed to be in quest of the fullness of divine life and joy. That is why our life can be tremendously happy. There is a deep joy. We know what we want, and we know, to some extent, that we already enjoy it but there is infinitely more in eternal life. We are on the way to it.
— M. Basil Pennington, OCSO, Listen with Your Heart:
Spiritual Living with the Rule of Saint Benedict