Thomas Merton

The value of truthfulness.

March 20, 2019

A liar no longer needs to feel that his lies may involve him in starvation. If living were a little more precarious, and if a person who could not be trusted found it more difficult to get along with other men, we would not deceive ourselves and one another so carelessly.

But the whole world has learned to deride veracity or to ignore it. Half the civilized world makes a living by telling lies. Advertising, propaganda, (politics) and all the forms of publicity that have taken the place of truth have taught men to take it for granted that they can tell other people whatever they like, provide that it sounds plausible and evokes some kind of shallow emotional response.

-Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island [1955]

Humbly, we are asked to keep the flow real between what is taken in and what is let out. We have only to breathe to remember our place as al living inlet. Experience in, feelings out. Surprise and challenge in, heartache and joy out. In a constant tide, life rushes in, and in constant release, we must let it all run back off. For this is how the earth was made magnificent by the sea and how humankind is carved upright, again and again, by the ocean of spirt that sets us free.

-Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening [2011]

There is something in me that knows what to do. It not only knows what to do, It impels me to act upon what It knows. This very acceptance flows forth into action through me. Always there is an inner, quiet, persistent confidence, a nonresistant but complete acceptance, an inward flowing with the stream of Life, knowing that It carries me safely and surely to my destination and to the accomplishment of every good purpose.

-Ernest Holmes, Science of Mind [2001]

We are guided continually. We choose to follow what is good, and right, and just.

 

 

Love laughs.

March 19, 2019

But love laughs at the end of the world, because love is the door to eternity; and, before anything can happen, love will have drawn her over the sill and closed the door, and he won’t bother about the world burning because he will know nothing about love.

-Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas [1953]

Wilderness of neurosis.

March 6, 2019

The history of our own time has been made by dictators whose characters, often transparently easy to read, have been full of repressed guilt, self-hatred, and feelings of inferiority. They have managed to enlist the support of solid masses men moved by the same repressed drives as themselves. The wars they have waged with one another have been the sacrifice which the cases, degraded by totalitarianism, have offered up in fanatical self-idolatry, which never completely manages to assuage the nausea brought about by the self-hatred.

-Thomas Merton, The Living Bread [1956]

The whole mechanism of modern life is geared for a flight from God and from the spirit into the wilderness of neurosis.

-Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island [1955]


neu·ro·sis
/n(y)o͝oˈrōsəs/

noun

Synonyms:
mental illness, mental disorder, psychological disorder, mental disturbance, mental derangement, mental instability, psychological maladjustment, psychoneurosis, psychopathy.

A new world yet seen.

March 2, 2019

The Silent Life.

The world of our time is in confusion. It is reaching the peak of the greatest crisis in history. Never before has there been such a total upheaval of the whole human race. Tremendous forces are at work: spiritual, sociological, economic, technological, and, least of all, political. Mankind stands on the brink of a new barbarism, yet at the same time there remain possibilities for an unexpected and almost unbelievable solution, the creation of a new world and a new civilization, the like of which has never been seen. We are face to face either with Antichrist or the Millennium, no one knows which.

-Thomas Merton, 1957

 

Pride goes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

 

We can awake.

February 21, 2019

We live in an age of bad dreams, in which the scientist and engineer posses the power to give external form to the phantasms of man’s unconscious. The bright weapons that sing in the atmosphere, ready to pulverize the cities of the world, are the

dreams of giants without a center.

Their mathematical evolutions are hieratic rites devised by

shamans without belief.

One is permitted to wish their dreams had been less sordid!

Thomas Merton, Emblems of a Season of Fury

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

-Naomi Shihab Nye

Dangerous Ambiguities

February 10, 2019

“As a nation, we have begun to float off into a moral void, and all the sermons of all the priests in the country (if they preach at all) are not going to help much. We have got to the point where the promulgation of any kind of moral standard automatically releases an anti-moral response in a whole lot of people. It is not with them, above all, that I am concerned, but with the ‘good’ people, the right-thinking people, who stick to principle, all right, except where it conflicts with the chance to make money. It seems to me that there are very dangerous ambiguities about our democracy it its actual present condition. I wonder to what extent our ideals are now a front for organized selfishness and systematic irresponsibility. If our affluence society every breaks down and the facade is taken away, what are we going to have left?”

1961

Thomas Merton, Seeds of Destruction

‘When hatred becomes patriotism.’

January 31, 2019

1963.

“We must be wary of ourselves when the worst that is in man becomes objectified in society, approved, acclaimed and deified, when hatred becomes patriotism and murder a holy duty, when spying and delation are called love of truth and the stool pigeon is a public benefactor, when the gnawing and prurient resentments of frustrated bureaucrats become the conscience of the people and the gangster is enthroned in power, then we must fear the voice of our own heart even when it denounces them. For are we not all trained with the same poison?

-Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton

January 20, 2019

Descending into the crowed, the individual loses his personality and his character and perhaps even his moral dignity as a human being. Contempt for the “crowd” is by no means contemporary for mankind. The crowd is below man. The crowd devours the human that is in us to make us the members of a many-headed beast. That is why the monastery builds itself in the wilderness: cuts off communications with the world, and with the press and the radio, which too often are simply the voice of the vast aggregation that is something less than human. As a specialized, spiritual society, the monastic community must take care to form itself carefully in the atmosphere of solitude and detachment in which the seeds of faith and charity have a chance to sink deep roots and grow without being choked out by thorns, or crushed under the wheels of trucks and cars.

-The Silent Life

Contempt for the crowd.

January 14, 2019

B R E X I T explained in a new HBO film debuting Sat., January 19th, focusing on mega data, mined personal data funded by Robert Mercer and social media. [Mercer played a key role in the Brexit campaign by donating data analytics services to Nigel Farage.]

Thomas Merton:

“Descending into the crowd, the individual loses his personality and his character and perhaps even his moral dignity as a human being. Contempt for the ‘crowd’ is by no means contempt for mankind. The crowd is below man. The crowd devours the human that is in us to make us the members of a many-headed beast […] the press and the radio too oftener simply the voice of the vast aggregation that is something less than human.”

Peace.

January 11, 2019

“The solitary is, first of all, one who renounces arbitrary social imagery. When his nation wins a war or sends a rocket to the moon, he can get along without feeling as if personally had won the war or hit the moon with a rocket. When his nation is rich and arrogant, he does not feel that he himself is more fortunate and more honest, as well as more powerful, that the citizens of other, more ‘backward’ nations. More than this, he is able to despise war and to see the futility of rockets to the moon in a way quite different and more fundamental from the way in which society may tolerate these negative views. That is to say, he despises the criminal, bloodthirsty arrogance of his own nation or class as much as that of ‘the enemy.’ He despises his own self-seeking aggressively as much as that of the politicians who hypocritically pretend they are fighting for peace.”

-Thomas Merton

 

To our future.

 

The principle of causation.

January 7, 2019

Read in current political context.

Every act carries with it a sequence, bringing the result of this action back to the self. This is what is meant by Karma, for Karma means the fruit of action. 

Emerson called it the Law of Compensation.

Jesus proclaimed the same in his teaching that as we sow, so shall we reap.

Kwang-Tze tells us that he more we give to ohers the ore we have. 

Walt Whitman also refers to this when he says, “The gift is most to the giver and comes back most to him”

This all means the return of the self to itself. The great apostle did not tell us to forget the self; he merely told us to also remember everyone else.

We are to view ourselves each in the other and behold God in all.

-Ernest Holmes

Apropos?

Man is all ready to come a god, and instead he appears at times to be a zombie.

A temperamentally angry man may be more inclined to anger than another. But as long as he remains sane he is still free not to be angry. His inclination to anger is simply a force in his character which can be turned to good or evil, according to his desires. If he desires what is evil, his temper will become a weapon of evil against other men and even against his own soul. If he desire what is good, his temper can become the controlled instrument for fighting the vile that is in himself and thus helping other men to overcome the obstacles which they meet in the world. He remains free to desire either good or evil.

-Thomas Merton

 

December 24, 2018

 

“The Light in which we are one does not change.”

-Thomas Merton

D’s Truck.

November 12, 2018

Do you know what I noticed the other day? The light on the speedometer right above 45 mph is dimming. Coming home from the protest to protect Mueller, to remind anyone who would listen that no one is above the law, the light in the speedometer is dimming. “Oh no,” I thought, and gently patted the dashboard. D’s truck. 1994 black Ford Ranger…24 years old. My son is 24. I don’t want D’s truck to stop. Ever. It was my brother’s. The “Biter End” pin from the Gaslamp bar in San Diego is right where you left it, on the visor.

I walk through the world because I love it.

I walk through the world because I love it.

Mary Oliver.

That’s what I read on a wall as I walked by thinking of you. I think you loved it. The world. And it broke your heart. And it breaks mine.

-Dayle Ohlau, Santa Sabina Center

___

There is in all things

an invisible fecundity,

a dimmed light,

a meek namelessness,

a hidden wholeness.

-Thomas Merton

‘…a hidden wholeness.’

October 14, 2015

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On Being and Parker Palmer

“There is in all visible things…a hidden wholeness.”

-Thomas Merton

‘In retrospect, I can see in my own life what I could not see at the time: how the job I lost helped me find work I needed to do, how the “road closed” sign turned me toward terrain I needed to travel, how losses that felt irredeemable forced me to discern meanings I needed to know. On the surface it seemed that life was lessening, but silently and lavishly the seeds of new life were always being sown.”

http://onbeing.org/blog/parker-palmer-autumn-to-cohere-in-mysterious-unity/8046

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