We must make choices that
enable us to fulfill the deepest
capacities of our real selves.
I’m not sure what brought Thomas Merton to mind. Maybe it was reconnecting with a dear friend after more than a year. Sharon and I went to France many moons ago on a Thomas Merton Pilgrimage. Sharon was finishing her degree at Simon Fraser University and they were offering a course that was a pilgrimage to Prades, France, the birthplace of Merton, to study his life and writings. Sharon signed up and it sounded so wonderful I decided to go along, auditing the course.
Thomas Merton, who was born in Prades on January 31, 1915 and died in Thailand on December 10, 1968, was a Trappist Monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. He was called to the monastic life in his mid-twenties, after living a rich, interesting, and sometimes lonely life in France, London, Rome and the U.S. Merton was always interested in Eastern Religions and studied them along with his academic and monastic studies. Although he was Catholic, he became an important proponent of interfaith understanding, opening dialogue with the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hahn, D.T. Suzuki and other Buddhist leaders. As it happened, he died of an accidental electrocution after giving a speech at a meeting of religious leaders in Bangkok, Thailand. He was a prolific writer, poet and social activist appealing to people of all faiths. At the heart of his spiritual writings is the search for the true self, for living life to the fullest with love at the core.
Every moment and every event
of every man’s life on earth
plants something in his soul.
What can we gain by sailing to the moon
if we are not able to cross the abyss that
separates us from ourselves? This is the
most important of all voyages of
discovery, and without it, all the
rest are not only useless,