Friday, July 27, 2012

vocation to solitude

Drawing by Thomas Merton
"Vocation to Solitude – To deliver oneself up, to hand oneself over, entrust oneself completely to the silence of a wide landscape of woods and hills, or sea, or desert; to sit still while the sun comes up over the land and fills its silences with light.  To pray and work in the morning and to labor in meditation in the evening when night falls upon that land and when the silence fills itself with darkness and with stars.  This is a true and special vocation.  There are few who are willing to belong completely to such silence, to let it soak into their bones, to breathe nothing but silence, to feed on silence, and to turn the very substance of their life into a living and vigilant silence."

Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude, p. 101


  1. lately, listening to cds "The present moment a retreat on the practice of mindfulness" by nhat hahn: each session begins and ends with a small bell sound, followed by a period of silence - in that space of silence my mind finds peace and rest. i think how odd that is, that i have to listen to silence on a cd to find silence

    1. something about that bell that interrupts thought, I think. I saw on a movie a monk walking very slowly down a busy street, ringing a bell ever so often. It might have something to do with the frequencies.

      I also once went to a series of sessions for a study on insomnia at a local hospital (I'm an insomniac). THey had these strange tape cassettes that we were to listen to before bed, and when we woke up in the night. The strangest things you ever heard - a kind of scrambled thoughts and words. The idea was to take your mind to the place where it let go of "control" of the thoughts, and just let them scramble up. Sometimes it worked for me and sometimes it didn't. THe more I figured out what it was doing, the less it worked.

  2. greetings

    Ringing _________

    I listened
    to a bell
    ringing -

    bell became
    i was
    ringing -

    i became
    silent -


    There is
    only -

    Blessings _____________

    1. thanks bob, your entries here are like zen koans and clear as a bell.

  3. Thank you for sharing this Beth
    I would be interested to hear what you and your readers think of a similarly themed article I just had published at Elephant Journal.

    “The Lost Art of Being Alone with God”