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The logic of worldly success rests on a fallacy: the strange error that our perfection depends on the thoughts and opinions and applause of other men! A weird life it is, indeed, to be living always in somebody else's imagination, as if that were the only place in which one could at last become real!

THOMAS MERTON, The Seven Storey Mountain

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.

THOMAS MERTON, No Man Is an Island

Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone -- we find it with another.

THOMAS MERTON, Love and Living

The greatest temptations are not those that solicit our consent to obvious sin, but those that offer us great evils masking as the greatest goods.

THOMAS MERTON, No Man Is an Island

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 presently twisted out of shape by the pretentious routines of a disordered togetherness.

THOMAS MERTON, Contemplation in a World of Action

It is quite false to imagine that Zen is a sort of individualistic, subjective purity in which the monk seeks to rest and find spiritual refreshment by the discovery and enjoyment of his own interiority. It is not a subtle form of spiritual self-gratification, a repose in the depths of one's own inner silence. Nor is it by any means a simple withdrawel from the outer world of matter to an inner world of spirit. The first and most elementary fact about Zen is its abhorrence of this dualistic division between matter and spirit. Any criticism of Zen that presupposes such a division is, therefore, bound to go astray.

THOMAS MERTON, Mystics and Zen Masters

If a man is to live, he must be all alive, body, soul, mind, heart, spirit.

THOMAS MERTON, Thoughts in Solitude

You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.

THOMAS MERTON, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

It is easy enough to tell the poor to accept their poverty as God's will when you yourself have warm clothes and plenty of food and medical care and a roof over your head and no worry about the rent. But if you want them to believe you--try to share some of their poverty and see if you can accept it as God's will yourself!

THOMAS MERTON, Seeds of Contemplation

Solitude is to be preserved, not as a luxury but as a necessity: not for "perfection" so much as for simple "survival."

THOMAS MERTON, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander


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