Wednesday, June 26, 2013


For security against robbers who snatch purses, rifle luggage, and crack safes,
One must fasten all property with ropes, lock it up with locks, bolt it with bolts.
This (for property owners) is elementary good sense.
But when a strong thief comes along he picks up the whole lot,
Puts it on his back, and goes on his way with only one fear:
That ropes, locks, and bolts may give way.
Thus what the world calls good business is only a way
To gather up the loot, pack it, make it secure
In one convenient load for the more enterprising theives.
Who is there, among those called smart,
Who does not spend his time amassing loot
For a bigger robber than himself?

- Thomas Merton, "The Way of Chuang Tzu" page 67.  [This is the first part of a longer entry, "Cracking the Safe"]


  1. ok ok ok

    i looked it up and it is on page 67 just as you say
    NDP276 - eighteenth printing -------------


    1. Yeah, but bob, what do you think about the notion of robbers keeping us honest? I mean this exposes property for the false security that it is, doesn't it?

  2. o my
    perhaps i am the robber
    perhaps i am steeling from my self
    by a desire for material attainment -
    o my o my o my
    you might get a better answer
    if you called 911 or the republican party
    they have a answer for all things spiritual -

  3. An analogy may be found in the instance of the recent fires in Colorado. All the precautions are feeble against the giant, fiery thief. My good friend of 35 years lost her home in the fires in San Diego six years ago. It shook her world. As a highly materialistic and affluent woman, at first she felt her entire identity stripped away; but there was a gradual transformation in her. To this date, she leads a much simpler life, encumbered by few possessions. There is a peace and sense of compassion that was not there previously

    1. I hope that I can let go of my fears so that I don't need to cling to stuff. I think that you are right about all precautions being feeble, the fire is going to take everything in the end. That's what I think that Merton/Chuang Tze was getting at - the absurdity of how we gather and protect our loot. Thanks for commenting!

  4. 2 cents ---------------------------------------------------------------
    its late and no one is watching me -
    it is my thinking the best spiritual experience is a good
    dose of reality - you want to be spiritual go sit under a tree
    or on a street corner or some out of the way place for 3 or 4 years
    to be alive is to participate in tragedy you know who is nailed
    to the cross ? that’s you - you can become content or bitter -
    spiritual or suicidal - i don’t know how good god is - i think the whole god thing is a somewhat misconception - by the way 19 firefighters just got burned up -
    i think god is the mystery of conciseness that pervades all the universe -
    O.T. translation stats - Wisdom is found in the market place
    it shouts it name from every street corner - one is reminded
    of Mertons experience down town Louisville -

    beth you are keeping me up late
    righten about this stuff when i could be sleeping
    and hiding under the covers -so there --

    blessings -----------------------


The Stuff of Contemplation (Joan Chittister)

Thomas Merton, Trappist, died December 10, 1968 Thomas Merton entered the Abbey of Gethsemane in Bardstown, Kentucky, at the age of twenty-s...