Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Contemplation & Resistance (2) - meditation

DAN: So in a time when machine is claiming its victories over men and women, it seems to me that contemplation becomes a form of resistance -- and should lead to resistance in the world. And this to the point where one cannot claim he is in touch with God, and still is neutral toward the machine, toward the death of people. I mention this because this also is not clear, and in the derangement in our culture we see that people move toward contemplation in despair -- even though unrecognized. They meditate as a way of becoming neutral --  to put a guard between themselves and the horror around them, instead of allowing them to give themselves to people and to hope, instead of presenting something different, something new, to suffering people. We have a terrible kind of drug called "contemplation". The practitioners may call themselves Jesus freaks or followers of Krishna or Buddha; they may wear robes of some kind, be in the street, and beg, and pray, and live in communes, but they care nothing about the war. Nothing about the war. And they talk somewhat like Billy Graham, "Jesus saves". That is to say, it's not necessary to do anything. So they become another resource of the culture instead of a resource against the culture.

NHAT HANH: Also on the subject of meditation, I think most of us have been touched profoundly by our situation, the reality in which we live, and many of us need a kind of healing. A number of people, including myself and many of my friends -- we need a little bit of time, of space, of privacy, of meditation, in order to heal the wound that is very deep in ourselves. That does not mean that if sometimes I am absorbed in looking at a cloud and not thinking about Vietnam, that does not mean that I don't care. But I need the cloud to heal me and my deep wounds. Many of us are wounded, and we understand and support each other in our need for healing. 

-from a slightly edited transcript of a conversation recorded in Paris in 1973 by Jim Forest between Thich Nhat Hanh and Daniel Berrigan,


  1. Thanks for these occasional meditations. They challenge me and over the couple of years I have been receiving your emails, they have moved me to more inclusive thinking. In fact, I'm now in a place where I'm totally confused about what it means to be a Christian, but I am moving forward, trusting the Lord to come to the promised land.

  2. God bless you for your vocation here, Beth. Thank you. John

  3. Thanks, Daniel and John.

    You know, I continue this blog for myself, as a way to stay connected to a line of thought/prayer that I don't want to lose. And as a way to keep track of things I don't want to lose.

    Sometimes I forget that there are others out there who actually read it. (except bob knab, who regularly contributes his 2 cents).

    Reminds me that we're all in this together. I appreciate your comments and camaraderie .



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