Culture of Imagination

connecting spirituality to everyday life

Category: Quotes from Multiple Books

So Interconnected – 8 quotes from Grace Lee Boggs book – The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century

512UxM1s9JL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_1. So interconnected

“I cannot recall any previous period when the issues were so basic, so interconnected, and so demanding of everyone living in this country, regardless of race, ethnicity, class, gender, age, or national origin. At this point in the continuing evolution of our country and of the human race, we urgently need to stop thinking of ourselves as victims and to recognize that we must each become a part of the solution because we are each a part of the problem.”

2. A new concept of citizenship

“’We have the power within us to create the world anew.’ We need to see that we can solve our health and education problems only by first creating a new concept of citizenship – one that will also cure our failing political system.”

3. Cooperative relations with one another

“My hope is that as more and different layers of the American people are subjected to economic and political strains and as recurrent disasters force us to recognize our role in begetting these disasters, a growing number of Americans will begin to recognize that we are at one of those great turning points in history. Both for our livelihood and for our humanity we need to see progress not in terms of ‘having more’ but in terms of growing our souls by creating community, mutual self-sufficiency, and cooperative relations with one another.”

4. The way we have been thinking and living

“In this decade, slowly but surely, we recognized that our catastrophes are not acts of nature but the consequences of our own ideas and actions. Therefore, we can bring an end to them by transforming the way we have been thinking and living.”

5. We are the leaders

“…we are the leaders we are looking for.”

6. Many cultures, movements, and traditions

“…we need the wisdom that comes from many cultures, movements, and traditions.”

7. Transformed into consumers

“In the past few decades, once productive Americans have been transformed into consumers, using more and more of the resources of the Earth to foster ways of living that are unsustainable and unsatisfying. This way of life has created suburbs that destroy farmland, wetlands, and the natural world, as well as pollute the environment. The new economy also requires a huge military apparatus to secure global resources and to consume materials for itself, at the same time providing enormous riches for arms merchants and for our otherwise failing auto, aircraft, and ship manufacturers.”

8. Listening to one another

“What we urgently need are impassioned discussions everywhere, in small groups and large, where people from all walks of life are not only talking but also listening to one another. That is the best way to begin creating an understanding of the next American Revolution, which I believe is not only the key to global survival but also the most important step we can take in this period to build a new, more human, more socially and ecological responsible, and more secure nation that all of us, whatever our race, ethnicity, gender, faith, or national origin, will be proud to call our own.”

How interconnected do you believe we are?

Purchase The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty First Century

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

8 Wonderful Books By Thomas Merton You Don’t Want To Miss  

1. The Sign of Jonas41sdg2pPluL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

“And so I live alone… in the midst of the holy beauty of all created things, knowing that nothing I can see or hear or touch will ever belong to me, ashamed of my absurd need to give myself away to any one of them or to all of them. The silly, hopeless passion to give myself away to any beauty eats out my heart. It is an unworthy desire, but I cannot avoid it. It is in the hearts of us all, and we have to bear with it, suffer its demands with patience…”

41WXKyiIpJL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_2. Mystics and Zen Masters

“…my ‘identity’ is to be sought not in that separation from all that is, but in oneness (indeed, ‘convergence’?) with all that is. This identity is not the denial of my own personal reality but its highest affirmation…”

3. The New Man41yINHj74-L._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_

“The ‘image’ of God is found in the soul’s structure – awareness, thought, love…”

download (10)4. Raids on the Unspeakable

“Let us obey life, and the Spirit of Life that calls us to be poets, and we shall harvest many new fruits for which the world hungers – fruits of hope that have never been seen before. With these fruits we shall calm the resentments and the rage of man.”

5. Spiritual Direction and Meditation510UChsojLL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

“We are afraid to make this spontaneous gift, afraid of spontaneity itself because we have been so warped by the idea that everything spontaneous is ‘merely natural’ and that for a work to be supernatural it has to go against the grain, it has to frustrate and disgust us. The truth is, of course, quite different. It is necessary for us to frustrate and overcome our… selfish and exterior self, the compulsive and automatic self that is really incapable of true love. But when we do this we set free our interior, simple self, our godlike self, the image of God, ‘Christ in us,’ and we become able to love God with spiritual liberty…”

41xnf5CAkxL._SX369_BO1,204,203,200_6. Bread in the Wilderness

“We are transformed in the midst of a discovery…”

7. Thoughts in Solitude41e9ou6sQ0L

“There is not much use talking to men about God and love if they are not able to listen. The ears with which one hears the message of the Gospel are hidden in man’s heart, and these ears do not hear anything unless they are favored with a certain interior solitude and silence.”

41krGsmoSWL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_8. The Silent Life

“Compunction is a spiritual grace, an insight into our own depths which, in one glance, sees through our illusions about ourselves, sweeps aside our self-deceptions and daydreams, and shows us ourselves exactly as we are. But at the same time it is a movement of love and freedom, a liberation from falsity, a glad and grateful acceptance of the truth, with the resolution to live in contact with the deep spiritual reality which has been opened up to our vision: the reality of God’s will in our lives.”

Have you read any of these wonderful books by Thomas Merton? 

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

5 Thomas Merton Books I Really Love A Lot

1. Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander thomasmerton

“We have got ourselves into a position where, because of our misunderstanding of theoretical distinctions between the ‘natural and the supernatural,’ we tend to think that nothing in man’s ordinary life is really supernatural except saying prayers and performing pious acts of one sort or another, pious acts which derive their value precisely from the fact that they rescue us, momentarily, from the ordinary routine of life. And therefore we imagine that Christian social action is not Christian in itself, but only because it is a kind of escalator to unworldliness and devotion. This is because we apparently cannot conceive material and worldly things seriously as having any capacity to be ‘spiritual.’ But Christian social action, on the contrary, conceives man’s work itself as a spiritual reality, or rather it envisages those conditions under which man’s work can recover a certain spiritual and holy quality, so that it becomes for man a source of spiritual renewal, as well as spiritual livelihood.”

2. New Seeds of Contemplation 727578

“As far as the accidentals of this life are concerned, humility can be quite content with whatever satisfies the general run of men. But that does not mean that the essence of humility consists in being just like everybody else. On the contrary, humility consists in being precisely the person you actually are before God, and since no two people are alike, if you have the humility to be yourself you will not be like anyone else in the whole universe. But this individuality will not necessarily assert itself on the surface of everyday life. It will not be a matter of mere appearances, or opinions, or tastes, or ways of doing things. It is something deep in the soul.”

3. The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation edited by William H. Shannon81MA-v3wVDL

“The important thing in contemplation is not enjoyment, not pleasure, not happiness, not peace, but the transcendent experience of reality and truth in the act of a supreme and liberated spiritual love. The important thing in contemplation is not gratification and rest, but awareness, life, creativity, and freedom. In fact, contemplation is man’s highest and most essential spiritual activity…”

4. Contemplation in a World of Action51Xo2PA2R+L._SL500_AA300_

“Growth in experience implies a serious self-doubt and self-questioning in which values previously held seem to be completely exploded and no other tangible values come to take their place… A Discipline that in fact blocks and prohibits development can produce nothing but tragic inertia. In such a case, crisis and upheaval are desirable reactions! They keep us in touch with reality…”

 

5. Faith and Violence: Christian Teaching and Christian Practicedownload (12)

“Can contemplation still find a place in the world of technology and conflict which is ours? Does it belong only to the past? The answer to this is that, since the direct and pure experience of reality in its ultimate root is man’s deepest need, contemplation must be possible if man is to remain human. If contemplation is no longer possible, then man’s life has lost the spiritual orientation upon which everything else – order, peace, happiness, sanity – must depend. But true contemplation is an austere and exacting vocation. Those who seek it are few and those who find it still fewer. Nevertheless, their presence witnesses to the fact that contemplation remains both necessary and possible.”

Have you read any of these books? What do you think of Thomas Merton?

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

If I Can’t Dance, Then It’s Not My Revolution – 5 quotes from Shane Claiborne’s books – The Irresistible Revolution and Follow Me to Freedom

av0YxKb_460s_v1 memory1. We are the body of Christ

“We are the body of Christ, the hands and feet of Jesus to the world. Christ is living inside of you and me, walking the earth. We shall do even greater things because the love that lived in the radical Christ now lives within millions of ordinary radicals all over the planet.” Shane Claiborne The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical

2. Gentle prophets

“Some of God’s most precious saints are quiet people, gentle prophets, secret saints that live in the shadows.” Shane Claiborne Follow Me to Freedom: Leading and Following as an Ordinary Radical

3. Becoming the church we dreamed of

“…we decided to stop complaining about the church we saw, and we set our hearts on becoming the church we dreamed of.” Shane Claiborne The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical

4. Most great social movements start with pain

“Most great social movements in history have similar beginnings: they start with pain, and then emerge from the streets, slums and abandoned corners of the earth… People most affected by the pain and closest to the injustices make the best leaders. They feel and understand the problems better than anyone else. I think that’s why Jesus did not simply come to help the poor; He came as the poor. Mother Teresa used to say that we cannot understand the poor until we stand under the poor and live among them…” Shane Claiborne Follow Me to Freedom: Leading and Following as an Ordinary Radical

5. If I can’t dance, then it’s not my revolution

“I take great courage from the fact that many of us are taking steps toward a gentler revolution. We need more prophets who laugh and dance. In our living room, we have an Emma Goldman quote: ‘If I can’t dance, then it is not my revolution’…” Shane Claiborne The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical

Are you a dreamer?

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

Cultivating the Mystic Within – 4 quotes from Mark Scandrette’s books – Practicing the Way of Jesus: Life Together in the Kingdom of Love and Soul Graffiti: Making a Life in the Way of Jesus

51LGrvlHGSL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_1. Learn to handle the challenges of our relationships in new ways

“Jesus dares us to imagine that we can learn to handle the challenges of our relationships in new ways. Though I’ll admit, it’s much easier to embrace ‘love your neighbor’ as a lofty platitude than as a practical mandate. The situations we actually face are often confusing… Real community happens with people who know us too well, who, despite all they know and the ways we disappoint them, still see our dignity and keep believing that we are being transformed by love.”  Mark Scandrette Practicing the Way of Jesus: Life Together in the Kingdom of Love

2. An embodied way that challenges our Western notions

“Jesus taught his disciples in an embodied way that challenges our Western notions about didactic classroom learning. You can’t learn karate just by watching, and we can’t learn to follow Jesus without practicing to do what he did and taught…” Mark Scandrette Practicing the Way of Jesus: Life Together in the Kingdom of Love

3. Sensitivity, compassion, and imagination

“Some would say that the highest form of creative expression is the capacity to live artfully. Through the freedom of his being, Jesus shows us the generative path of an artist, as one who approached life with sensitivity, compassion, and imagination. An artist, in the broad sense used here, is someone who, with acute skill and ingenuity, uses the tools of language and symbol to express and explore meaning and identity within a community. Employing the raw materials of Earth, humanity, and culture, Jesus collaborated with the creative and redemptive energy of the reign of God. We can learn to follow the path of an artist by adopting practices inspired by his example.” Mark Scandrette Soul Graffiti: Making a Life in the Way of Jesus

51uJ3zC0qcL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_4. Cultivating the mystic within

“We live in a time of great attraction and suspicion about the mystical or unseen dimensions of reality. The prevailing influence of scientific rationality has led to great skepticism about supernatural experiences, and simultaneously created an intense hunger for divine encounters and guidance. We tend to approach the unseen world with great caution and ambivalence, as something powerful but yet dangerous. Weary of the overuse of phrases such as ‘God told me’ or ‘I had a vision,’ we prefer to stick with the unambiguous facts. We’re well acquainted with caricatures of the overly ‘spiritual’ person, obsessed with their personal psychology, esoteric knowledge, or narcissistic navel gazing. So we are cautious about delving too deeply into the ‘inner life’ or ‘inner voice.’ And yet, the profound challenges we face in society, the demands on our time, resources and relationships, the prevalence of stress, anxiety, and depression suggest the need for practices that give us access to wisdom, guidance, and power beyond ourselves. You balance the rationality of the mind with the activity of the body by cultivating the mystic within.”  Mark Scandrette Soul Graffiti: Making a Life in the Way of Jesus

Have you cultivated the mystic within?

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

Tend to the Wounds in God’s Heart – 7 quotes from Christopher L. Heuertz’s books – Unexpected Gifts: Discovering the Way of Community and Simple Spirituality: Learning to See God in a Broken World

51-6b52lH4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. Restless, discontented lives

“Although we should know better, many of us are surprised when we encounter boredom in our communities, relationships, and vocations. We are surprised when we find ourselves living restless, discontented lives. We want more. We want meaning. We want to be part of things that are significant and vocations that make a difference.” Christopher L. Heuertz Unexpected Gifts: Discovering the Way of Community

2. Humility opens our eyes

“It’s humility that opens our eyes to the discovery of God…” Christopher L. Heuertz Simple Spirituality: Learning to See God in a Broken World

3. Leaning to love each other well

“Discovering new kinds of friendships – that dismantle our unfair expectations and take the focus off of ourselves – helps ground our other relationships. And learning to love each other well, accepting the best and worst of each other, focusing on our relationships as they are rather than what we think they should be, helps us stay faithful to our friendships, relationships, and communities.” Christopher L. Heuertz Unexpected Gifts: Discovering the Way of Community

4. When we fail to be present

“When we are selfish or unresponsive to God, we have less to give to our community. When we fail to give or be present to our community, we not only hurt ourselves, we hurt those around us…” Christopher L. Heuertz Simple Spirituality: Learning to See God in a Broken World

5. Tend to the wounds in God’s heart

“We live in a world that cries for mercy, for justice. The brokenness of the world has been an invitation not only to face but also to tend to the wounds in God’s heart. In the face of suffering, injustice, and oppression, we have found a fight to break up – the fight between the integrity of God’s character and the powers that try to discredit that integrity. The courageous energy that breaks up the fight is our collective commitment to embodying the goodness of God’s nature, which seems to be absent in so many parts of the world.” Christopher L. Heuertz Unexpected Gifts: Discovering the Way of Community

41U6YM8zeiL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_6. Our deformed perceptions of power

“When we don’t submit our lives to God and our possessions to people in need, when we mistake our financial and material blessings as personal provision rather than as resources with potential for kingdom development – have we perpetuated an unjust imbalance between us and our neighbors? Could it be that our deformed perceptions of power, our selfish tendencies to accumulate and hoard, cause many of the world’s poor to go without their basic needs?”  Christopher L. Heuertz Simple Spirituality: Learning to See God in a Broken World

7. Faith and doubt can coexist

“Community is an incubator in which faith and doubt can coexist. In tension and in safety, community is a place where we are free to ask tough questions. And when we don’t have good answers or the doubts start to take us to dark places, community is there to remind us of God’s faithfulness…” Christopher L. Heuertz Unexpected Gifts: Discovering the Way of Community

Do you have a collective commitment to embody the goodness of God’s nature in the world?

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

Know That You Do Not Know – 7 quotes from Thomas Merton’s Letters

download (14)1. Not of rich and powerful people

“The Nativity of God in the world develops in the history of man. The Christ lives in the history of the people, not of rich and powerful people, not of powerful peoples, no, but in that of the poor…” March 3, 1958 The School of Charity

2. Those who know that they do not know

“Those who know that they do not know, are able at least to see something of what is in front of their nose. They can see a shadow of it, anyway. And they can move with the light and the shadow and keep from getting immediate sunstroke. So we must all move, even with motionless movement, even if we do not see clearly. A few little flames, yes. You can’t grasp them, but anyway look at them obliquely. To look too directly at anything is to see something else because we force it to submit to the impertinence of our perceptions. After a while though everything will speak to us if we let it and do not demand that it say what we dictate.” May 11 1964 The Courage for Truth

3. In the middle of the ordinary

“…it seems to me that mysticism flourishes most purely right in the middle of the ordinary. And such mysticism, in order to flourish, must be quite prompt to renounce all apparent claim to be mystical at all: after all, what difference do labels make?…” December 12 1961 The Hidden Ground of Love

51CCCAHK6ML._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_4. Even if our way of life is changed or destroyed

“Like all of us, you have got your faith identified with a certain way of life. But we have to keep our faith even if our way of life is changed or destroyed…” October 29, 1962 Witness to Freedom

5. The biggest intention I have for myself

“You know the biggest intention I have for myself – to be able to give myself most completely to God…” January 12, 1953 The Road to Joy

6. Three or four hours a day of meditation

“At least I hope to devote myself more fruitfully to the opportunities I have at present… I hope to get in three or four hours a day of meditation…” December 9, 1964 The Hidden Ground of Love

7. Attached to our inner egoism

“One must know what are the real attachments in his soul before he can effectively work against them, and one must have a detached will in order to see the truth of one’s attachments. In practice, the events of life bring us face to face, in painful situations, with the places in which we are attached to our inner egoism… Exterior detachment is easier… But inner detachment centers around the ‘self,’ especially in one’s pride, one’s desire to react and to defend or to assert ‘self,’ in one’s own will. This attachment to the self is a fertile sowing ground for seeds of blindness, and from this most of our errors proceed…” December 26, 1962 The hidden Ground of Love

Do you know that you do not know?

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

Zombies of Depersonalization – 8 quotes from Thomas Merton’s Letters

512NQR36S9L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. The unusual, the lonely and the absurd

“We should be proud of our vocation to the unusual, the lonely and the absurd (for it really has meaning).” February 19, 1960 The Courage for Truth

2. Love alone

“Love alone matters… February 16, 1953 The Road to Joy

3. The Catholic Worker 

“To me The Catholic Worker stands for something absolutely unique and alive in the American Church. It would be hard to put into words how much it means to me, for so many personal reasons: it stands for my own youth and for the kind of influences that shaped my own life thirty years ago… Catholic Worker is part of my life… I am sure the world is full of people who would say the same…” December 29, 1965 The Hidden Ground of Love

51CCCAHK6ML._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_4. The most important thing in my existence

“I do not think my failures are a reason for abandoning solitude but for continuing in it with renewed resolution and with greater understanding, prudence… Never think that I take the solitary life lightly. I cannot take it lightly. It is the most important thing in my existence and I have to cling to it with all my power…” Summer of 1966 Witness to Freedom

5. The depersonalization of mass man

“A ‘zombie’ is a person, or rather a human being, that has been brought back to the semblance of life from death by voodoo and goes about with an appearance of autonomy but no soul. A rather ugly concept, but one which forcefully expresses the depersonalization of mass man.” January 2, 1964 The School of Charity

6. Stand on your own feet

“…we must stand on our own feel and support the community by our own work, and example,… by the power of the Spirit living in us. It is a great responsibility, when we realize it, but one from which we need never shrink… Your greatest strength will always be your littleness and the humility which will make you trust in Jesus. And don’t ever lose either your common sense or your sense of humor…” April 30, 1957 Witness to Freedom

7. Added on to the rest of life

“…we always want to make the spiritual life something added on to the rest of life, and so to speak compensating for our normal life. What compensation is needed? Our normal life is life ‘in Christ’…” February 6, 1960 The Road to Joy

8. A huddling togetherdownload (14)

“There are so many voices heard today asserting that one should ‘have religion’ or ‘believe,’ but all they mean is that one should associate himself, ‘sign up’ with some religious group. Stand up and be counted. As if religion were somehow primarily a matter of gregariousness. Alas, we have too much gregariousness of the wrong kind, and with results that do not need to be recalled. The gregariousness even of some believers is a huddling together against God…” December 17, 1960 The Hidden Ground of Love

Have you become a zombie of depersonalization?

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

The Last Refuge of Humility – 10 quotes from Thomas Merton’s Journals

download (13)1. This “safety” appears to be freedom

“One of the great temptations of an over institutionalized religion is precisely this: to keep man under the constraints of his own and his society’s past so that this ‘safety’ appears to be freedom. He is free to return to the familiar constraint, but this interferes with his freedom to respond to the gift of grace in Christ…” January 6, 1964 Dancing in the Water of Life

2. As if pretense were easy in solitude

“Who ever said that the solitary life is one of pretense and deception? As if pretense were easy in solitude!!! It is easy in the community, for one can have the support of a common illusion or a common agreement in forms that take the place of truth. One can pretend in the solitude of an afternoon walk, but the night destroys all pretenses, one is reduced to nothing, and compelled to begin laboriously the long return to truth.” December 5, 1964 Dancing in the Water of Life

3. Abandon one’s attachment to a particular ego

“…the idea of solitude as part of the clarification which includes living for others: dissolution of the self in ‘belonging to everyone’ and regarding everyone’s suffering as one’s own. This is really incomprehensible unless one shares something of the deep existential Buddhist concept of suffering as bound up with the arbitrary formation of an illusory-ego self. To be ‘homeless’ is to abandon one’s attachment to a particular ego – and yet to care for one’s own life (in the highest sense) in the service of others. A deep and beautiful idea.” June 29, 1968 The Other Side of the Mountain

4. Try not to be anyone outwardly51yldrcNI8L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

“What matters is to love, to be in one place in silence, if necessary in suffering,… and not try to be anybody outwardly…” January 29, 1966 Learning to Love

5. The purest kind of activity

“Love is the purest kind of activity we know…” October 3, 1941 Run to the Mountain

6. No use in a reforming frenzy

“There is no use in a reforming frenzy!…” November 30, 1962 Turning Toward the World

7. The last refuge

“’Humility’ as the last refuge in which the self becomes impregnable! This is what we are looking for.” January 22, 1963 Turning Toward the World

8. Jesus lived in poverty and hardship

“…the life of a Christian has meaning and value only to the extent that it conforms to the life of Jesus. But Jesus lived in poverty and hardship…” February 13, 1949 Entering the Silence

Learning-to-Love9. The act by which we give ourselves to God

“The act by which we give ourselves to God is by its nature creation…” May 28, 1957 A Search for Solitude

10. Love takes care of it all

“Love takes care of it all. Whose love? Must I prove that I love? No, I hope in God’s love, i.e. in the incomprehensible. And in that love live at peace with myself and others. Someone questions the peace and asks to examine it. That’s his problem, not mine. It is not examinable.” September 19, 1966 Learning to Love

Have you embraced the last refuge of humility in life?

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

Living Together With Wisdom – 10 quotes from Thomas Merton’s Journals

download (13)1. Blocks our growth and happiness

“But we substitute an artificial, mythological norm for our own inner truth, and when it blocks our growth and happiness, we look for mythological reasons. We diagnose in terms of myth, to justify the myth at our own expense… We depend on the myths we fabricate (with the help of others) and block our lives by resorting to them…” June 23, 1966 Learning to Love

2. Living together with wisdom

“But what more do I seek than this silence, this simplicity, this ‘living together with wisdom’? For me there is nothing else…” January 31, 1965 Dancing in the Water of Life

3. Power prevents renewal

“Power prevents renewal. Power prevents real change…” May 6 1968 The Other Side of the Mountain

Learning-to-Love4. Act in all things out of genuine love

“The thing is to cling to God’s will and truth in their purity and try to be sincere and to act in all things out of genuine love, in so far as I can.” January 25, 1962 Turning Toward the World

5. We have to leave all

“We have to leave all and follow Christ…” November 24, 1941

6. See what happens

“Before one knows the meaning of what happens, we must be able to see what happens…” November 21, 1958 A Search for Solitude

7. What a mistake it is

“What a mistake it is to judge your community at all! It is the community God has chosen and planned for your sanctification… You must work to improve it… But if you fail, do not despair and think everything is wasted. Does God’s glory depend on the success of your ideas? Does your sanctity consist in bringing everybody around to see things the way you see them?…” March 25, 1948 Entering the Silence

8. To live in poverty

“It is no use waiting now. I desire very much to begin to live in poverty, more than anything on earth. And this is a chance, and I pray that I may take it, and not lose it, and begin now to really follow Christ… And this in great earnestness and love and devotion, not for the peace and relief it must give anybody, at first, to follow the Gospel literally and without any further sophistry…” November 4, 1941 Run to the mountain

9. Need discipline51KguyFvx7L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ (1)

“Need discipline, and need to get my solitary life more organized. I can see this is the big battle – to stay centered on something and not float out into space. The need for seriousness. Yet it is serious, and constantly so…” November 30 1964 Dancing in the Water of Life

10. Does love have to make perfect sense?

“Love is a key to a hidden answer in us… Does love too have to make perfect sense?…” June 21, 1966 Learning to Love

Do you need more discipline in everyday life?

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