Sunday, March 29, 2009

MysticBliss: Merton & Eastern Thought

A sure sign that Easter is very close.

Toward the end of his life (which was cut short in a bizarre accident), Thomas Merton was being more and more influenced by Easter philosophies and traditions. This is no secret; he wrote whole books about what he was learning and how he was synthesizing it with his own Catholic beliefs.

Here's a taste from his book The Inner Experience:

The life of contemplation in action and purity of heart is, then, a life of great simplicity and inner liberty. One is not seeking anything special or demanding any particular satisfaction. One is content with what is. One does what is to be done, and the more concrete it is, the better. One is not worried about the results of what is done. One is content to have good motives and not be too anxious about making mistakes. In this way one can swim with the living stream of life and remain at every moment in contact with God, in the hiddenness and ordinariness of the present moment with its obvious task.

I think this speaks, a bit, to what I wrote about on Friday. This giving of one's self to the work to be done -- day to day, doing the work.

In that work, then, if it is the work we are here to do, we are lost to our "self." Our ego can melt into the action and we can "swim with the living stream."

5 comments:

Rowena said...

This is a great quote with a lot of clarity.

I grew up a buddhist in a christian culture, and although I am not religious anymore, both belief systems have filtered into my philosophy.

I'm working to be able to do as Merton suggests. It's kinda hard.

Tom (Mystics Meeting) said...

"at every moment in contact with God"

Yes, this too is what I was speaking of in my comment to your previous post- this is a great quote to bring to our looking!

all too often, when we get into discussion of "right action", does the looking get infused with an agenda that bubbles up from someplace below the surface- agenda being, something born of the past, and acting towards an image that was created of what the future "should" look like...

I think these agendas are bound to be very personal- OUR past and OUR image of future, is bound to come into conflict with another's- and so the inquiry becomes, 'how shall I meet the other, without this conflict?' -this is much of what I meant to look at around the term "wannabe"... and indeed, we are here looking at it together- a blessed thing in itself!

Merton speaks of "the present moment with its obvious task."

I think it is important to see what ones own measurements are, (here, Im using the word "agenda") before one can see right action... and by measurements, I dont mean to refer to refined or perfected measurements one makes of the world around oneself- but rather the agenda that is carried from ones past experiences, from living a life, and to SEE those things arrive to meet this moment, and color everything we see, *personally* with them... in seeing the truth of that, an understanding that it is limited in its ability to see the whole, it is then that right action becomes an "obvious" thing- and indeed, a sacred, blessed, bliss-filled thing...

everything, as it is, unfolding in this moment...

amy said...

love thomas merton...

Helen RScP said...

Thank you for this...it really speaks to me. I ordered the book and I'm smiling as I anticipate the joy of reading it.

Ecoyogi said...

I love the Merton quote. That speaks to me so much right now. I'm feeling so *happy* doing what needs to be done. It's such a shift from my navel gazing days. I feel so blessed to be working with children in an inner city school. They have so much to teach me. And it feels like honest, hard work.