Monday, June 20, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - June 20

What I Fear Most

There has to be a real fear by which one orients his life. What you fear is an indication of what you seek. What do I fear most? Forgetting and ignorance of the inmost truth of my being. To forget who I am, to be lost in what I am not, to fail my own inner truth, to get carried away in what is not true to me, what is outside me, what imposes itself on me from outside. But what is this? It can take manifold forms. I must fear and distrust them all. Yet I cannot help being to some extent influenced by what is outside me, and hence I must accept that influence to some extent. But always in such a way that it increases my awareness, my remembrance, my understanding, instead of diminishing these.

Fear of ignorance in the sense of avidya: the ignorance that is based on the acceptance of an illusion about myself. The ignorance that comes from the decision to regard my ego as my full, complete, real self, and to work to maintain this illusion against the call of secret truth that rises up within me, that is evoked within me by others, by love, by vocation, by providence, by suffering, by God. The ignorance that hardens the shell, that makes the inner core of selfhood determined to resist the call of truth that would dissolve it. The ignorance that hardens in desire and willfulness, or in conformity, or in hate, or in various refusals of people, various determinations to be “right at any price” (the Vietnam War is a clear example of the American people’s insistence on refusing to see human truth).

June 22, 1966, VI.332

1 comment: