Often I advised parents that their children needed time to think, to just be -- picking flowers, fishing (for crabs) or admiring glorious sunsets, painting their own images in the firmament as they watch the clouds race by. Little ones are so receptive and thrive on these enriching experiences. Respect for life and every living creature can be instilled into their hearts. All the while I had been giving this good advice, I had been starving my own needy soul with a diet of too much hard work. Taking time to relax is important in our search for freedom: it’s one of the easiest and most delightful ways to feel in touch with the intelligence of the cosmos.
There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, a dimmed light, a meek namelessness, a hidden wholeness. This mysterious unity and integrity is wisdom . . . There is in all things an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silence that is a foundation of action and joy. It rises up in gentleness and flows out to me from the unseen roots of all created being.
~ from HAGIA SOPHIA by Thomas Merton, thanks to Br. Columba
The only true joy on earth is to escape from the prison of our own fake self and enter by Love into union with the Life who dwells and sings with the essence of every creature and in the core of our own souls.
Let me seek, then, the gift of silence, and poverty, and solitude, where everything I touch is turned into a prayer: where the sky is my prayer, the birds are my prayer, the wind in the trees is my prayer, for God is all in all.
~ from THOUGHTS IN SOLITUDE by Thomas Merton, thanks to Gary O’Guinn
Prayer and meditation have an important part to play in opening up new ways and new horizons. If your prayer is the expression of a deep and grace-inspired desire for newness of life—and not the mere blind attachment to what has always been familiar and "safe"—God will act in us and to prepare what we cannot yet imagine or understand. In this way our prayer and faith today will be oriented toward the future which we ourselves may never see fully realized on earth.
from CONTEMPLATION IN A WORLD OF ACTION by Thomas Merton
To do work carefully and well, with love and respect for the nature of my task and with due attention to its purpose, is to unite myself with God's will in my work. I become an instrument for God to work through me.
Since noise is increasing in all directions, the psychology of silence has taken on a special meaning. We are already so adapted to an abundance of screeching sound that we are surprised when stillness suddenly envelops us. Not that this happens very often. We begin to see that the whole question of our relation to the world, both positive and negative, centers in something like silence. So our service to the world might be simply to keep a place where there is no noise, where people can be silent together.
from THE SPRINGS OF CONTEMPLATION by Thomas Merton
This will be my solitude, to be separated from myself so that I am able to love You alone, to love You so much that I no longer realize I am loving anything. I no longer desire to be myself, but to find myself transformed in You, so that there is no "myself" but only Yourself. That is when I will be what You have willed to make me from all eternity: not myself, but Love.