Tuesday, November 13, 2018

silence


photo by Thomas Merton
Meister Eckhart, the German philosopher, mystic and theologian said, “There is nothing in the world that resembles God as much as silence.”
In essence, Eckhart is saying this: Silence is a privileged entry into the realm of God and into eternal life.  There is a huge silence inside each of us that beckons us into itself, and the recovery of our own silence can begin to teach us the language of heaven.
What is meant by this?
Silence is a language that is infinitely deeper, more far-reaching, more understanding, more compassionate, and more eternal than any other language. In heaven, it seems, there will be no languages, no words. Silence will speak. We will wholly, intimately, and ecstatically hold each other in silence, in perfect understanding.
Words, for all their value, are part of the reason why we can’t do this already. They divide as much as they unite. There is a deeper connection available in silence. Lovers already know this, as do the Quakers whose liturgy tries to imitate the silence of heaven, and as do those who practice contemplative prayer. John of the Cross expresses this in a wonderfully cryptic line: “Learn to understand more by not understanding than by understanding.”
Silence does speak louder than words, and more deeply. We experience this already now in different ways: When we are separated by distance or death from loved ones, we can still be with them in silence; when we are divided from other sincere persons through misunderstanding, silence can provide the place where we can still be together; when we stand helpless before another’s suffering, silence can be the best way of expressing our empathy; and when we have sinned and have no words to restore things to their previous wholeness, in silence a deeper word can speak and let us know that, in the end, all will be well and every manner of being will be well.
“There is nothing in the world that resembles God as much as silence.” It’s the language of heaven and it is already deep inside of us, beckoning us, inviting us to deeper intimacy with everything.
- Ron Rolheiser OMI
http://ronrolheiser.com/in-praise-of-silence/#.W-tY3SdReSN

Friday, November 9, 2018

A Life Surrendered to Love - Thomas Keating


"Nothingness is who God is".

"Nothing is one of the greatest activities there is."

the contagion of our obsessions

"He who attempts to act and do things for others or for the world without deepening his own self-understanding, freedom and integrity and capacity to love, will not have anything to give others. 
He will communicate to them nothing but the contagion of his own obsessions, his aggressiveness, his ego-centeredness, his delusions about the ends and means, his doctrinaire prejudices and ideas.”
- Thomas Merton, Contemplation in a World of Action, p. 164.

Monday, November 5, 2018

postcard from Thomas Merton to Patrick Hart, November 5, 1968



50 years ago today Merton wrote to his secretary at Gethsemani Abbey, Br. Patrick Hart, of his meeting with the Dalai Lama and his trip to Dharamshala:

"Have been making a good retreat near Dalai Lama. Had an audience yesterday and will have another tomorrow. He is very fine – I have met a lot of other very good Tibetan monks. The Tibetans are certainly a praying people! Even the laymen seem to pray all the time.

The Himalayas are marvelous. Best thing yet. This is so far the high point of the trip in every way – and I expect more, as I go to the other end of the range next week to more Tibetan monasteries."

[Photo of Merton pictured with Amiya Chakravarty (http://merton.org/Research/Correspondence/y1.aspx?id=319) in suit.]

Saturday, November 3, 2018

day of a stranger

Day of a Stranger // Teaser from transcendental media on Vimeo.

Day of a Stranger

“Many poets are not poets for the same reason that many religious men are not saints: they never succeed in being themselves… They never become the man or the artist who is called for by all the circumstances of their individual lives. …They wear out their minds and bodies in a hopeless endeavor to have somebody else’s experiences or write somebody else’s poems.” 
— Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

In Pursuit of Silence from transcendental media on Vimeo.

…reminiscent of seeing 1982’s Koyaanisqatsi for the first time… Shen’s In Pursuit of Silence incessantly inspires and sometimes takes the breath away and can even accomplish both at once.” -Austin Chronicle

In Pursuit of Silence is a meditative exploration of our relationship with silence, sound and the impact of noise on our lives. Beginning with an ode to John Cage’s ground-breaking composition 4’33”, In Pursuit of Silence takes us on an immersive cinematic journey around the globe– from a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto, to the streets of the loudest city on the planet, Mumbai during the wild festival season – and inspires us to experience silence and celebrate the wonders of our world.

Replete with imagery that shimmers with the kind of almost otherworldly wonder one might associate with a Terrence Malick movie… This film does more than just tell a story, it testifies to the sheer loveliness of anything — everything — when drenched in silence.” -The Huffington Post

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Christianity and Totalitarianism

"A mass movement readily exploits the discontent and frustration of large segments of the population which for some reason or other cannot face the responsibility of being persons and standing on their own feet. But give these persons a movement to join, a cause to defend, and they will go to any extreme, stop at no crime, intoxicated as they are by the slogans that give them a pseudo-religious sense of transcending their own limitations. The member of a mass movement, afraid of his own isolation, and his own weakness as an individual, cannot face the task of discovering within himself the spiritual power and integrity which can be called forth only by love. Instead of this, he seeks a movement that will protect his weakness with a wall of anonymity and justify his acts by the sanction of collective glory and power. All the better if this is done out of hatred, for hatred is always easier and less subtle than love. It does not have to respect reality as love does. It does not have to take account of individual cases. Its solutions are simple and easy. It makes its decisions by a simple glance at a face, a colored skin, a uniform. It identifies an enemy by an accent, an unfamiliar turn of speech, an appeal to concepts that are difficult to understand. He is something unfamiliar. This is not "ours." This must be brought into line - or destroyed.

"Here is the great temptation of the modern age, this universal infection of fanaticism, this plague of intolerance, prejudice and hate which flows from the crippled nature of man who is afraid of love and does not dare to be a person. It is against this temptation most of all that the Christian must labor with inexhaustible patience and love, in silence, perhaps in repeated failure, seeking tirelessly to restore, wherever he can, and first of all in himself, the capacity of love and which makes man the living image of God."

- Merton, Disputed Questions, "Christianity and Totalitarianism"

Friday, October 26, 2018

Fr. Thomas Keating O.S.C.O, RIP

Trappist Fr. Thomas Keating: "He taught me the value of friendship with members of different religions. He taught me the value of silence and careful thinking." (NCR file photo)
 Trappist Fr. Thomas Keating, a global figure in both interreligious dialogue and Christian contemplative prayer, has died at the age of 95.

NCR has a very good write up of his life HERE.
Largely in response to the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council's call to religious orders for renewal, Keating and fellow Cistercian monks Fr. William Meninger and the late Fr. Basil Pennington (1931-2005), worked together in the 1970s to develop a contemplative prayer method that drew on ancient traditions but would be readily accessible to the modern world.
...
"The gift of God is absolutely gratuitous," he said. "It's not something you earn. It's something that's there. It's something you just have to accept. This is the gift that has been given. There's no place to go to get it. There's no place you can go to avoid it. It just is. It's part of our very existence. And so the purpose of all the great religions is to bring us into this relationship with reality that is so intimate that no words can possibly describe it."

silence

photo by Thomas Merton Meister Eckhart, the German philosopher, mystic and theologian said, “There is nothing in the world that resem...

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