To Be Maladjusted – 11 quotes from Thomas Merton’s Writings – The Hidden Ground of Love: Letters on Religious Experience and Social Concerns edited by William H. Shannon  

by Mark Votava

51CCCAHK6ML._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_1. We must pass on to the unknown

“All that we know clearly is insufficient.  We must pass on to the unknown…”

2. The paradoxes in which you must live

“I hope you will keep well, and that your work will go along peacefully and fruitfully, and that you will understand more and more the paradoxes in which you must live…”

3. To be a contemplative is to be in some ways maladjusted

“To be a contemplative is to be in some ways maladjusted and even though by forcing oneself, one can put up with the superficialities and pretenses of social life, one constantly sees through them and is very aware of their absurdity and meaninglessness…”

4. Some pretty drastic reevaluations have to be made

“The solitary life I find very fruitful and in some ways disconcerting.  It has brought me face to face with things I had never had to consider before, and I find that some pretty drastic reevaluations have to be made in my own life…”

5. Every man for himself

“We cannot go on living every man for himself…”

6. Those in power

“The great problem, it seems to me, is that those in power do not think in terms of human beings and living persons, but in terms of political abstractions which tend to become more and more unrelated to human reality.”

7. There is bitterness in all of us

“…there is bitterness in all of us, and sometimes we feel it.  This must be understood, and we must deal with it humbly and realistically.  We cannot be without feelings of various kinds, and we can simply use them as occasions for self-knowledge and trust in God’s mercy.”

8. The meeting of Eastern and Western philosophy and mysticism

“To my mind the meeting of Eastern and Western philosophy and mysticism is a crucially important matter…  I might say, however, that I have a deep affinity and respect for Buddhism, and I think that I am as much a Chinese Buddhist in temperament and spirit as I am a Christian.  I don’t find any contradiction in matters of ‘faith’ as I see it…  I think one can certainly believe in the revealed truths of Christianity and follow Christ, while at the same time having a Buddhist outlook on life and nature.  Or in other words, a certain element of Buddhism in culture and spirituality is by no means incompatible with Christian belief…”

9. This quest for inner truth

“There is nothing whatever of any importance except this quest for inner truth…”

10. How important it is to live in silence, in unknowing

“I see how important it is to live in silence,… in unknowing.  There is an enormous battle with illusion going on everywhere, and how should we not be in it ourselves?…”

11. Has a right to a place in my solitude

“It seems to me that, as a contemplative, I do not need to lock myself into solitude and lose all contact with the rest of the world; rather this poor world has a right to a place in my solitude…”

Which quote do you like the best?

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

51DJfJVBpBL (1)