Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - May 22

Patiently Exploring Interior Space

Hot, stuffy, misty summer weather.

Now I have got to get my life in order at last without desperation and without compromise. A long succession of waster opportunities. The need for serious spiritual discipline, especially long periods of meditation. Going on my own, not being held within the limits of accepted practice and custom in the community. I owe it to the community, which has allowed me opportunities for it, more or less, to forge ahead where they do not go. This is certainly implied by the situation in which I have been placed.

I have misused this to a great extent, thinking I was obliged to form a judgment concerning world affairs. That obligation is by no means certain, whereas my obligation to explore "the interior space" is absolutely clear.

From Tertullian: Malim nullum bonum quam vanum: I would rather have nothing than have vanity."

When we face the vanity of our best efforts, their triviality, their involvement in illusion, we become desperate. And then we are tempted to do anything as long as it seems to be good. We may abandon a better good with which we have become disillusioned, and embrace a lesser good with a frenzy that prevents us from seeing the greater illusion.

So, through efforts that may seem to be waster, we must patiently go towards a good that is to be given to the patient and the disillusioned.

May 29 and 30, 1962, IV.221-22

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