Tuesday, February 06, 2018


Now having the time to pursue some of my interests, I am reminded how much I enjoy reading from the journals of Thomas Merton.  My interest in Merton began as a young man when I was living in a Franciscan community in 1970.  One of the friars gave me a copy of Merton's The Sign Of Jonas.  It was the first Thomas Merton book I ever read.  It was a journal of approximately five years in Merton's life that also described in vivid detail the life of the monastery in the late 1940's and early 1950's.  It began for me a life long love affair with monastic life, a life that I still find attractive 45 years after leaving it.  The Sign Of Jonas was the reason I left the Franciscan community and entered the Abbey of Gethsemani, the same monastery where Merton lived and wrote The Sign Of Jonas.

These days I am also reminded that I like classical music.  As I write these notes Beethoven's "Brandenburg Concerto's" plays in the background.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I am loving these early morning hours that retirement allows me to have.  I have always been a morning person, even when I was working full time.  Morning's have always seemed sacred to me.  I am still getting up early and once I am alone the first thing I do is sit in silence for 20 minutes.  I am usually holding my favorite coffee mug and the hot coffee warms my hands.  My meditation is followed by some serious reading and often some classical music in the background.  Later in the day when I might be feeling a little sluggish, I will listen to some rock and roll or go to the park for a walk.  At some point in the afternoon I try to get in another meditation session.  Yesterday I attended an introduction to meditation session at the Passionist Earth & Spirit Center.  They are offering a 10 week course that I am considering.

As soon as Beethoven is finished I need to do some chores.  Each day I try to do something that might be considered constructive.  I am resistant to retiring from one employer to become an employee of my wife but my new freedom does make it easier to do some chores that previously needed to be done...or not done...around my full time work schedule.

Even with this gift of time that retirement has given me, the hours and the days seem to be flying by at an alarming rate.  The perception that time seems to increase in speed the older you get is very real. My meditation is centered on the practice of mindfulness.  Among other benefits, mindfulness can help to slow down time.  Being in the moment seems to make the moment last.  Like Maxwell House coffee, I want each moment of my life to be "good to the last drop".

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