Jump to content

Non-Self According To Merton


SteveS55
 Share

Recommended Posts

Here’s a quote I like from Thomas Merton:

 

“Therefore, as long as we experience ourselves in prayer as an “I” standing on the threshold of the abyss of purity and emptiness that is God, waiting to “receive something” from Him, we are still far from the most intimate and secret unitive knowledge that is pure contemplation. From our side of the threshold this darkness, this emptiness, looks deep and vast – and exciting. There is nothing we can do about entering in. We cannot force our way over the edge, although there is no barrier. But the reason is perhaps that there is also no abyss. There you remain, somehow feeling that the next step will be a plunge and you will find yourself flying in interstellar space.”

"When the next step comes, you do not take the step, you do not know the transition, you do not fall into anything. You do not go anywhere, and so you do not know the way by which you got there or the way by which you come back afterward. You are certainly not lost. You do not fly. There is not space, or there is all space: it makes no difference.”

"The next step is not a step. You are not transported from one degree to another. What happens is that the separate entity that is you apparently disappears and nothing seems to be left but a pure freedom indistinguishable from infinite Freedom, love identified with Love. Not two loves, one waiting for the other, striving for the other, seeking for the other, but Love Loving in Freedom." – Thomas Merton
New Seeds of Contemplation, pg 282

 

He is referring to what Buddhists regard as the realization of emptiness, or Anatta. Merton was a Catholic and his description fits with what is believed to be the “unitive state” in contemplative Christianity. In experience, I believe it is the same realization, but they obviously differ is doctrine. There is a question of “timing” involved here. As Merton says, there is no question of being “transported from one degree to another”. It just “is” and the only thing remaining is the realization. Time seems to be an irrelevant factor and process is redundant, but "spaciousness" appears.

 

Steve

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like this, Steve. I need to read more of Merton. :) For me, God is no longer a person that I need to find a pathway to. God is, rather, an awareness of the connectness of all things, especially through compassion.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Korea was a poor country when I was young and the people were afraid of foreigners. There was a coup d etat and then the leadership was passed to another General who also lead with fear. When babies saw me on the bus they cried because I was different. Now, Korea is prosperous, creative, open, friendly and compassionate. They are sharing their wealth with many programs to help families, sick and elderly. Their mass transit is connected subway and bus, easy and far reaching. The other day on the bus a 2-3 year old saw me and started singing abc song to connect. What a transformation in the face of massive growth in population. Seoul when I lived here was 8 million, now it is 15 million with Muslims, Buddhist, Christians, Hindus and Taoist all living together and respected. I am learning everyday about connecting and opening up from a country that was at one time closed. The key is compassion as Bill stated people are giving and getting in return so give even more as they grow in unity. Compassion is not a word but a way of life that benefits the one who lives it. I am lucky to meet people here at all levels, hight government, farmers, students, families, working people, elderly and all are connected without fear. The U.S. and Christianity can benefit from being open, creative, not afraid and compassionate too, not by preaching or busy activities, but by just being compassionate at at one's individual capacity. Grace is the state of being, like Bill said not searching, changing, trying, but just being joyful in the state of grace. I think this is what Jesus was teaching, which is quite different from what is preached today.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

terms of service