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Nondual Highlights #2071 - Thursday, March 3, 2004 - Editor: Gloria
This issue is dedicated to Thomas Merton
Something inside me has reached to the place
where the world is breathing.
We have what we seek, it is there all the time, and if
we give it time, it will make itself known to us. -
Thomas Merton's Prayer
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am
going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot
know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
The very contradictions in my life are in some ways signs of God's mercy to me.
photo: Thomas Merton and the Dalai Lama, 1968
Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to the truth and a much more perfect purity of conscience.
The first step toward finding God, Who is Truth, is to discover the truth about myself: and if I have been in error, this first step to truth is the discovery of my error.
We do not exist for ourselves...
The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.
We have to have a deep, patient compassion for the fears of men and irrational mania of those who hate or condemn us.
The contemplative waits in silence
and when he is answered,
it is not so much by a word
that bursts into his silence.
It is by this silence itself, suddenly,
inexplicably, revealing itself to him
as a word of great power.
photo: Thomas Merton's Hermitage in Gethsemani,
Kentucky Solitude is not something you must
hope for in the future. Rather, it is a deepening of the present,
and unless you look for it in the present you will never find it.
What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous...
Yet it is in this loneliness that the deepest activities begin. It is here that you discover act without motion, labor that is profound repose, vision in obscurity, and, beyond all desire, a fulfillment whose limits extend to infinity. If you love truth,
ON BEING HUMAN
The biggest human temptation is to settle for too
little. We stumble and fall
constantly even when we are most enlightened. But when we are in
true spiritual darkness, we do not even know that we have fallen.
A life is either all spiritual or
not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is
shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what
you desire. Art enables us to find
ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature
seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure,
a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is
charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my
feet. Life is this simple.
We are living in a world that is
Thomas Merton is remembered as a beloved Catholic monk who wrote eloquently of the interior life and did much to open up an East-West dialog between religions, but it is often forgotten that he was an accomplished poet, as well.
This poem by Thomas Merton shows his profound understanding of the inner meanings of Zen tradition. What does Merton mean when he talks about being "nameless" and "unnameable"?
To be "nameless" is a state experienced by many deep mystics, and it is particularly emphasized in nondualist traditions, like Zen. In ecstatic communion, the mind subsides so completely that the ego, the "I"-sense, thins or fades out completely. The bliss that results is a profound awareness of witnessing life everywhere, but with no "me," no witness. You could say that there is still a point of perception, but no perceiver.
This radical state is the loss of your name. How can you have a name when there is no "you" there? What is there to be named? A name is a reference to an object with an identifiable form -- but you have become formless, unnameable! A chair is named a "chair" only so long as it has the form of a chair; but if the object flowed naturally through all possible patterns and forms without stopping on one shape, could you still call it a chair? Of course not. It has lost its identity with a single form, it has lost its "apartment," its fixed address, and therefore cannot be named.
Yet, surprisingly, it is the "nameless who are at home" in the universe. In identifying with a single and limited sense of "me," the little self rejects the vast majority of existence. Through being nameless, we find all things within ourselves. There is no other way to be at home in the universe.
Having no "apartment" that the ego can call home, we find "the center of nowhere" within ourselves. Having no fixed "me" with a start and an end, we become the "unborn flower of nothing" -- that is, unborn and not trapped by thing-ness.
Often this sort of description sounds rather bleak or negative, but it is not. It is a source of indescribable joy and freedom. It is truly the "paradise tree." In settling into this state, the "world" -- the experience of the exterior environment as separate, an agitated projection of the ego -- stops or "ends." Perception continues -- it is enhanced! -- but it is no longer of an exterior world; everything is seen as being within, a part of one's Self. This is only truly known, however, when the mind settles, when "words end and arguments are silent."
Much to meditate on in this poem...
Thought for the Day:
Look for the one who dreams through you.
Here's your Daily Poem from the Poetry Chaikhana --
By Thomas Merton
There is no
where in you a paradise that is no place and there
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