Friday, December 30, 2011
A Year With Thomas Merton - December 29
Idolizing the Calendar
Incomparable richness of Ananda K. Coomaraswamy! His book on Hinduism and Buddhism. I am giving it a first reading, in which I do not expect to understand and appreciate everything.
One point--already familiar--driven home more: whatever is done naturally may be either sacred or profane, according to the degree of our awareness, but whatever is done unnaturally is essentially and irrevocably profane!
One of the great problems of monastic life here, today, with machines, noise, etc., and commercialism, is that the unnatural is taken for the supernatural. No concern at all for the natural or for natural process leads to perversion and degradation of the spiritual life.
End of 1960. The tree still decorated. The tinfoil bell, the cedar wreaths, the drying pine boughs, the colored lights. I was wondering at the beginning of morning meditation if it would be given me to see another twelve years--to come to New Year's, say 1973. The live to be fifty-seven or nearly fifty-eight. Can such an age be possible? What foolish perspectives we get onto, by believing in our calendars. As if numbers, good old numbers, faceless, voiceless, will surely be there with nothing to say.
What is likely to happen in twelve more years? Is the final war so feared and so expected that it cannot after all happen--as if what everyone expected was by that very fact excluded?
Is this inanity of man's world finally going to work itself out to its ultimate absurdity?
December 27 and 31, 1960, IV.80-81