6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Small book with great content,
This review is from: New Seeds of Contemplation (Shambhala classics library) (Hardcover)
"To find love I must enter into the sanctuary where it is hidden, which is the mystery of God."
It sounds easy yet it can take lifetimes for the human being-soul to accomplish this task. This a is small book with a great content. In thirty nine short chapters Thomas Merton presents an important content to ponder over. It is a cliché but I say it anyhow: the text is indeed a food for (y)our soul. You need not to adhere to the Christian faith in order to mine the gold nuggets hidden in Merton's words because he speaks a universal language. The ponderings can offer consolation when we face hard times. The aim of this book is not to foster holy men but whole men and women with integrity, people able to live in love and appreciation of each other, recognizing the magnificence of Life Itself.
Chapter seventeen is called Hell as Hatred and it is a useful reading in the face of violence and terror we humans constantly impose on our brothers, no matter which side of any conflict we choose. The point is, there is no side to choose, because as chapter one states: We Are One Man.
The Root of War is Fear (Chapter sixteen- among others) looks at the mechanism of psychological projection and states the obvious fact, yet an unconscious behavior, namely, we ease ourselves from our guilt by passing it onto somebody else. We see the bad in others in order to feel better about ourselves.
What is guilt after all? It is a deep silently gnawing feeling of inadequacy when we constantly find faults with ourselves instead of seeing our own perceived limitations as steps for our evolution. Merton examines faith and discusses how it can help us. Faith is a communion with God, not a false statement about God. (Chapter nineteen: From Faith to Wisdom)
For those who do not like to use the word God, please substitute Oneness, Mystery, Eternal Consciousness, whatever... it is not the words, the symbols as such we need to embrace but the meaning and consequences they unveil to us.
To take this book to heart you need courage because Merton's view will prompt you to change your way of looking at life and the way you wish to live it.