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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.
- Kabir

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

  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.  

    ON PEACE  

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, Be a lover of Silence. Silence like the sunlight will illuminate you in God And will deliver you from the phantoms of ignorance.  Silence will unite you to God…  


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 absolutely transparent and God is shining through it all the time.  This is not just a fable or a nice story.  It is true.  If we abandon ourselves to God, and forget ourselves, we see it sometimes, and we see it maybe frequently.  God shows Himself everywhere, in everything - in people and in things and in nature and in events.  It becomes very obvious that God is everywhere and in everything and we cannot be without Him.  It's impossible.  The only thing is that we don't see it.   I wonder if there are twenty people alive in the world now who see things as they really are.  That would mean I wonder if there are twenty people alive in the world now who see things as they really are.  That would mean that there were twenty people who were not dominated or even influenced by any attachment to any created thing or to their own selves or to any gift of God, even to the highest, the most supernaturally pure of His graces.  I don't believe that there are twenty such people alive in the world.  But there must be one or two.  They are the ones who are holding everything together and keeping the universe from falling apart.    

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 --

The Fall

By Thomas Merton
(1915 - 1968)

There is no where in you a paradise that is no place and there
You do not enter except without a story.

To enter there is to become unnameable.

Whoever is nowhere is nobody, and therefore cannot exist except as unborn:
No disguise will avail him anything

Such a one is neither lost nor found.

But he who has an address is lost.

They fall, they fall into apartments and are securely established!

They find themselves in streets. They are licensed
To proceed from place to place
They now know their own names
They can name several friends and know
Their own telephones must some time ring.

If all telephones ring at once, if all names are shouted at once and all cars crash at one crossing:
If all cities explode and fly away in dust
Yet identities refuse to be lost. There is a name and a number for everyone.

There is a definite place for bodies, there are pigeon holes for ashes:
Such security can business buy!

Who would dare to go nameless in so secure a universe?
Yet, to tell the truth, only the nameless are at home in it.

They bear with them in the center of nowhere the unborn flower of nothing:
This is the paradise tree. It must remain unseen until words end and arguments are silent.

-- from Selected Poems of Thomas Merton, Thomas Merton

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Mahour Mellat Parast


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