Living Always in Somebody Else’s Imagination -11 quotes from Thomas Merton’s book – The Seven Story Mountain

by Mark Votava

41J2GqX7WmL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. The more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer

“Indeed, the truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt.  The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers most: and his suffering comes to him from things so little and so trivial that one can say that it is no longer objective at all.  It is his own existence, his own being, that is at once the subject and source of his pain, and his very existence and consciousness is his greatest torture…”

2. The million different voices

“We refuse to hear the million different voices through which God speaks to us…”

3. The highest pitch of artificial tension

“We live in a society whose whole policy is to excite every nerve in the human body and keep it at the highest pitch of artificial tension, to strain every human desire to the limit and to create as many new desires and synthetic passions as possible, in order to cater to them with the products of our factories and printing presses and movie studios and all the rest.”

4. God’s life is Love

“What is ‘grace’?  It is God’s own life, shared by us.  God’s life is Love…”

5. No idea of ours can adequately represent God

“What a relief it was for me, now, to discover not only that no idea of ours, let alone any image, could adequately represent God, but also that we should not allow ourselves to be satisfied with any such knowledge…”

6. Our own common good and our own common salvation

“God has willed that we should all depend on one another for our salvation, and all strive together for our own mutual good and our own common salvation…”

7. Common and natural and ordinary things

“All our salvation begins on the level of common and natural and ordinary things…”

8. The life of the soul is not knowledge, it is love

“The life of the soul is not knowledge, it is love, since love is the act of the supreme faculty, the will, by which man is formally united to the final end of all his strivings – by which man becomes one with God.”

9. The artistic experience

“After all, from my very childhood, I had understood that the artistic experience, at its highest, was actually a natural analogue of mystical experience.  It produced a kind of intuitive perception of reality through a sort of affective identification with the object contemplated…”

10. Our weakness should not terrify us

“Our weakness should not terrify us: it is the source of our strength…  Power is made perfect in infirmity…”

11. Living always in somebody else’s imagination

“A weird life it is, indeed, to be living always in somebody else’s imagination, as if that were the only place in which one could at last become real!”

Which quote do you like best?

Here are some other posts I have done on Thomas Merton and his writings.