Friday, May 25, 2012

Thomas Merton

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm, and harmony.
-Thomas Merton

A Facebook friend posted this quote on her “Wall”. Yesterday, while I was taking my morning Zen walk, I saw this friend coming into my building. We quickly got into a very engaging conversation about Merton, the Dalai Lama, Buddhism, and spirituality in general. Thomas Merton has been one of the most influential people in my life. He was a Christian monk and he lived in the same monastery that I lived in although we were not there at the same time. Although a Christian monk he is the person who introduced me to Zen and Buddhist thinking. Shortly before his death in 1968 he met with a then young Dalai Lama in India. Today the Dalai Lama thinks Merton was the bridge between Eastern and Western spirituality. Before leaving for Asia to meet with various spiritual leaders, Merton spent the last three years of his life living as a hermit on the monastery grounds. He had a small house in the woods away from the main monastery. I have been fortunate to make two retreats, completely alone, in Merton’s Hermitage. To live and sleep in the very space where one of my biggest influences lived was very meaningful to me. 

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