A radical change

This quote came in the mail today from the Merton Institute. I liked it a lot and I’m putting it up here for reflection. Thomas Merton was and continues to be an influence in my life and contemplation as Merton defines it does change me. It is as Merton says, ” a radical change in my way of being and living.”

Contemplation is not a deepening of experience only, but a radical change in one’s way of being and living, and the essence of this change is precisely a liberation from dependence on external means to external ends. Of course one may say that an opening of the “doors of perception” is not entirely “external” and yet it is a satisfaction for which one may develop a habitual need and on which one may become dependent. True contemplation delivers one from all such forms of dependence. In that sense it seems to me that a contemplative life that depends on the use of drugs is essentially different from one which implies liberation from all dependence on anything but freedom and divine grace. I realize that these few remarks do not answer the real question [about drugs and contemplation] but they express a doubt in my own mind.”

Thomas Merton. Faith and Violence: Christian Teaching and Christian Practice. Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1968: 217.