Thursday, December 21, 2006

the contemplative heart

Many people have written about Merton over the years. My favorite of all of the about-Merton books is “Merton’s Palace of Nowhere” by James Finley. The book is now in tatters and parts, I’ve read it so much. I love the unique understanding that Finley brings to Merton’s thoughts on contemplativeness, and the way his own writing invites my soul to seek out mysterious places of awareness and God-consciousness.

Finley is a former Trappist monk, and was a novice under Merton. After leaving Gethsemani, he became a husband, father, psychotherapist and writer. Drawing from both Christian and Buddhist teachings, Finley lays a foundation for contemplative awareness that is faithful to one's own truth and inner-being.

When I saw that Finley had a new book (published in 2000, that’s how far behind I am), “The Contemplative Heart”, I ordered it. It came today and I’m just not sure about it. At first glance, it seems a bit “clinical”, practical even! :-)

I may have more to say about this book as I read it. For now I’ll start with the quote that convinced me to buy the book:

“Learning to live a more contemplative way of life in the midst of today’s world – what could be more simple or more difficult?” (p. 29)
That’s my question too.

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