Living Together With Wisdom – 8 quotes from Thomas Merton’s Writings – Thomas Merton: Spiritual Master edited by Lawrence S. Cunningham

by Mark Votava

97808091331471. The more I am able to affirm others

“…the more I am able to affirm others, to say ‘yes’ to them in myself, by discovering them in myself and myself in them the more real I am.  I am fully real if my own heart says yes to everyone.”

2. Beats in our very blood

“The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomenon of life, the more we analyze them out into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own, the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity and despair.  But it does not matter much, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things, or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there.  Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it to or not.”

3. Living together with wisdom

“What more do I seek than this silence, this simplicity, this ‘living together with wisdom’?  For me, there is nothing else, and to think that I have had the grace to taste a little of what all men really seek without realizing it!…”

4. Nasty dissatisfaction with everything

“…there is my rebellious and nasty dissatisfaction with everything…”

5. Impersonating a shadow

“In an age where there is much talk about ‘being yourself’ I reserve to myself the right to forget about being myself, since in any case there is very little chance of my being anybody else.  Rather it seems to me that when one is too intent on ‘being himself’ he runs the risk of impersonating a shadow.”

6. An ecological balance

“I exist under trees.  I walk in the woods out of necessity.  I am both a prisoner and an escaped prisoner.  I cannot tell you why, born in France, my journey ended here in Kentucky.  I have considered going further, but it is not practical.  It makes no difference.  Do I have a ‘day’?  Do I spend my ‘day’ in a ‘place’?  I know there are trees here.  I know there are birds here.  I know the birds in fact very well, for there are precise pairs of birds (two each of fifteen or twenty species) living in the immediate area of my cabin.  I share this particular place with them: we form an ecological balance.  This harmony gives the idea of ‘place’ a new configuration.”    

7. Openness to gift

“God lives and dwells in us…  Consequently, the kind of life that I represent is a life that is openness to gift; gift from God and gift from others.”

8. To live with our loneliness

“It is not that we go out into the world with a capacity to love others greatly.  This too we know in ourselves, that our capacity for love is limited.  And it has to be completed with the capacity to be loved, to accept love from others, to want to be loved by others, to admit our loneliness and to live with our loneliness because everybody is lonely…”

Which quote do you like the best?

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

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