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7 years ago  ::  Dec 12, 2007 - 11:58PM #1
Melancthon
Posts: 140
Thomas Merton was one of the giants of spirituality in the 20th century.  I've read a couple of Merton's shorter books (Praying the Psalms and Opening the Bible), but on the  whole I'm woefully underexposed to his thought.

David offered to say a few things about his experiences with Merton.  Maybe some other people will offer their impressions as well.  (Personally, I don't do impressions. :))
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7 years ago  ::  Dec 13, 2007 - 11:36AM #2
seekerdrd
Posts: 98
Probably the biggest thing I learned from Merton was through his example of making a regular practice of solitude. He would take time away from the other monks and his responsibilities to go into the wilderness and just be. This idea of "just being" is hard at first since the mind does not want to shut out earthly concerns, and will find all manner of ways to distract.

This leads to the second thing I learned from Merton, which was how to blend some of my Eastern training (Buddhist, Taoist, etc.) with my new faith in God. I tlearned to use the techniques I had for emptying the mind, but instead of stopping there, I learned from Merton how to re-fill the mind then with the things of God (scripture, prayer, etc.).

Finally, I learned a great lesson from Merton and from Brother Lawrence on being here and now with God. I'm willing to share some of this, but I'd like to know what people are interested in first.

David
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7 years ago  ::  Dec 31, 2007 - 11:56PM #3
Gingersnapwa
Posts: 11
[QUOTE=Melancthon;135838]Thomas Merton was one of the giants of spirituality in the 20th century.  I've read a couple of Merton's shorter books (Praying the Psalms and Opening the Bible), but on the  whole I'm woefully underexposed to his thought.

David offered to say a few things about his experiences with Merton.  Maybe some other people will offer their impressions as well.  (Personally, I don't do impressions. :))[/QUOTE]

A good source of Merton material is the Merton Institute web site at https://www.mertoninstitute.org/  I receive  a weekly reflection from them. I have been reading/studying Merton for several years. If you prefer shorter works, you might read the books "Contemplative Prayer" & "Spiritual Direction & Meditation."
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7 years ago  ::  Dec 31, 2007 - 11:56PM #4
Gingersnapwa
Posts: 11
[QUOTE=Melancthon;135838]Thomas Merton was one of the giants of spirituality in the 20th century.  I've read a couple of Merton's shorter books (Praying the Psalms and Opening the Bible), but on the  whole I'm woefully underexposed to his thought.

David offered to say a few things about his experiences with Merton.  Maybe some other people will offer their impressions as well.  (Personally, I don't do impressions. :))[/QUOTE]

A good source of Merton material is the Merton Institute web site at https://www.mertoninstitute.org/  I receive  a weekly reflection from them. I have been reading/studying Merton for several years. If you prefer shorter works, you might read the books "Contemplative Prayer" & "Spiritual Direction & Meditation."
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 02, 2008 - 10:26PM #5
chevy956
Posts: 1,948
David,
           Were you actually at Gethsemini when Merton was a hermit, or while he was novice master?
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 03, 2008 - 1:50PM #6
seekerdrd
Posts: 98
[QUOTE=chevy956;260347]David,
           Were you actually at Gethsemini when Merton was a hermit, or while he was novice master?[/QUOTE]

Only in the fertile fields of my imagination as I read through many of his works.

:D
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 26, 2008 - 11:41PM #7
peacemystic
Posts: 114
I have the Good Fortune of only living about 35 minutes from Gethsemane,and have visited  Mertons Grave and have even held one of his fathers paintings,he's one of my Heros,no doubt about it,he showed me i didn't have to stop thinking,to stop asking Questions,that i didn't have to be perfect,like so many of the saints are made out to be.

You can also buy mertons Taped lectures to novices at gethsemane from a small house/store in Bardstowns ky which is just down the road from the monastry,and the Fudge they make is awesome.

If me its always are really religious experience visiting Gethsemane and knowing he walked the same ground that i've walked on
Cheers
Steve
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6 years ago  ::  May 12, 2008 - 12:10PM #8
steve123
Posts: 610
Question about Merton:

How much was he, in his later years, open to the ideas in Buddhism?  It seems to me that he was very open to Buddhism.  He did appear to want to blend the two.  Is this correct or totally off base?
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6 years ago  ::  May 16, 2008 - 9:17AM #9
walkingman
Posts: 171
For someone looking for an introduction to Merton, what work of his would be recommended?
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6 years ago  ::  May 17, 2008 - 8:59AM #10
walkingman
Posts: 171
Thank you for the recommendation. I attempted to read Seven Story Mountain at one point in time, but, honestly, I had some difficulty with Merton's occasional anti-Protestant commentary.  I can appreciate that the book describes his journey to Catholicism and so will be pro-Catholic in that sense, but I thought he went beyond that at times.  Maybe I'll give it another try.

Thanks again.
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