A 40 Year "Retrospective Journey"

“Be good, keep your feet dry,
your eyes open, your heart at peace
and your soul in the joy of Christ.”
Thomas Merton

November 18, 2008

Alone on the Mountainside

November 18, 1968

"I'm glad I came here. All morning alone on the mountainside, in the warm sun, now overclouded. Plenty of time to think. Reassessment of this whole Indian thing in more critical terms. Too much movement. Too much "looking for" something: an answer, a vision, "something other". And this breeds illusion. Illusion that there is something else. Differentiation - the old splitting up process that leads to mindlessness, instead of the mindfulness of seeing all-in-emptiness and not having to break it up against itself. Four legs good; two legs bad..."

"...Hence the annoyance with Kanchenjunga, its big crude blush in the sunrise, outside my bungalow window at 5:45. What do I care for a 28,00-foot postcard when I have this bloody cold?"AJTM p.148

Another Day of Discernment

Thomas again takes advantage of a time of silence and solitude to reflect on his pilgrimage and to discern his future.

"I am still not able fully to appreciate what this exposure to Asia has meant. There has been so much - and yet so little... Meeting the Dalai Lama and the various Tibetans, lamas or "enlightened" laymen, has been the most significant thing of all, especially in the way we were able to communicate with one another and share an essentially spiritual experience of "Buddhism" which is also somehow in harmony with Christianity." AJTM p.148

Here or There?
Merton wonders about his future and weighs the options of remaining in the hermitage at Gethsemani, becoming a hermit in India, or doing likewise in Alaska or around "the Redwoods". He indicates that he is not sensing a particular call to Asia, that he does feel it's time to leave Gethsemani, and that things do seem to point towards Alaska or the Redwoods.

Gethsemani is My Monastery

"Another question: would this move be temporary or permanent? I do not think I ought to separate myself completely from Gethsemani, even while maintaining an official residence there, legally only. I suppose I ought eventually to end my days there. I do in many ways miss it. There is no problem of my wanting to simply "leave Gethsemani." It is my monastery and being away has helped me see it in perspective and love it more." AJTM p.149

Have another great day... Rob

"We have what we seek, it is there all the time, and if we give it time, it will make itself known to us.”
Thomas Merton

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