The Subconscious Mind – 10 quotes from Thomas Merton’s book – No Man Is An Island

by Mark Votava

41tYJhDcp8L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. The subconscious mind

“The subconscious mind plays a very important part in the interior life, even though it remains behind the scenes. Just as a good play depends on the scene, the lighting, and all the rest, so too our interior life owes much of its character to the setting and lighting and background and atmosphere which are provided, without any deliberate action of our own, by our subconscious mind.”

2. Hope is the gateway to contemplation

“Hope is the gateway to contemplation, because contemplation is an experience of divine things and we cannot experience what we do not in some way possess…”

3. The gift of love

“The gift of love is the gift of the power and the capacity to love, and, therefore, to give love with full effect is also to receive it. So, love can only be kept by being given away, and it can only be given perfectly when it is also received.”

4. Really leading an interior life

“What is hard is not the business of putting forth physical effort, but the work of really leading an interior life… underneath all the externals.”

5. What you think of yourself

“Your idea of me is fabricated with materials you have borrowed from other people and from yourself. What you think of me depends on what you think of yourself. Perhaps you create your idea of me out of material that you would like to eliminate from your own idea of yourself. Perhaps your idea of me is a reflection of what other people think of you. Or perhaps what you think of me is simply what you think I think of you.”

6. A life without love and without mercy

“What is the value of a virtuous life, if it be a life without love and without mercy?…”

7. Practical and alive

“The truth I love in loving my brother cannot be something merely philosophical and abstract. It must be at the same time supernatural and concrete, practical and alive. And I mean these words in no metaphorical sense… I must seek the life of the Spirit of God breathing in him. And I can only discern and follow the mysterious life by the action of the same Holy Spirit living and acting in the depths of my own heart.”

8. Created in the image of God

“This respect for the deepest values hidden in another’s personality is more than an obligation of charity. It is a debt we owe in justice to every being, but especially to those who, like ourselves, are created in the image of God.”

9. Some of the charity, that is in ourselves

“Some people never reveal any of the good that is hidden in them until we give them some of the good, that is to say, some of the charity, that is in ourselves.”

10. We must be ourselves

“We must be ourselves by being Christ. For a man, to be is to live. A man only lives as a man when he knows the truth and loves what he knows and acts according to what he loves. In this way he becomes the truth that he loves. So we ‘become’ Christ by knowledge and by love.”

Are you aware of how the subconscious mind plays an important part in the interior life?

Purchase No Man Is An Island

My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism

My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!

“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist