Gift of Solitude

I owe this quote to Gerry Straub’s blog. I keep coming back to Thomas Merton.

Today more than ever we need to recognize that the gift of solitude is not ordered to the acquisition of strange contemplative powers, but first of all to the recovery of one’s deep self, and to the renewal of an authenticity which is twisted out of shape by the pretentious routines of a disordered togetherness…. [We must] be first of all a person who can give himself because he has a self to give. And indeed, we cannot give Christ if we have not found him, and we cannot find him if we cannot find ourselves.” -Thomas Merton

Contemplation in a World of Action
[Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., Image Books, 1974 – pages 280-281]

I’m going to listen

What is Lent? Today I got up at 5:30 am and headed for the gym. It was raining hard. As I ran I could hear the rain beating on the roof of the gymnasium and I was reminded of Thomas Merton who said,

It will talk as long as it wants, this rain. As long as it talks I am going to listen.

So whenever it rains its a call to holiness for me. It’s an invitation to think of Merton and contemplation. The sound of rain is beautiful. Rain washes over us and over the land and I think it’s like grace, except that we can see it. God’s grace is all around us. It isn’t just on Ash Wednesday or during Lent. It isn’t just Sunday, but on Monday and Tuesday too.

We just have to look for it. I’m trying to look for it more.

The Way

A while back I purchased Wayne Dyer’s, “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life.” It’s only the second or third audio book I’ve ever purchased. I’ve really enjoyed listening to it when I’m out driving around. I listen to very little radio and very little television. I even read very little news on the Internet with the exception of Linux, open source, and technology blogs. I’ve found through this experience that I’ve become even more contemplative and I hope more peaceful. Last week I started re-reading the Te of Piglet which has been quite interesting to read again a book I first read four or five years ago. I know that Dr. Dyer’s book which is based on the Tao te Ching has really caused me to do this.

A couple of weeks ago I visited Abbey of the Genesee and while there I picked up Thomas Merton’s, “The Way of Chuang-Tzu“. I found it interesting that Merton’s interest in the Tao was much like mine. I have found many parallels in the Gospels with the Tao te Ching. My reading and listening has invited me to be more contemplative and more sensitive to my surroundings.

Literally interpreted the Tao is “the way” and that same phrase was one of the early descriptions of Christianity.

The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.
This source is called darkness.

Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding.–Tao te Ching,Chapter 1