At Nantai I sit quietly with an incense burning,

One day of rapture, all things are forgotten,

Not that mind is stopped and thoughts are put away,

But that there is really nothing to disturb my serenity.

–Shuan (Zen poetry)

The world is the unquiet city of those who live for themselves and therefore divided against one another in a struggle that cannot end, for it will go on eternally in hell. It is the city of those who are fighting for possession of limited things and for the monopoly of goods and pleasures that cannot be shared by all.

But if you try to escape from this world merely by leaving the city and hiding yourself in solitude, you will only take the city with you into solitude. For the flight from the world is nothing else but the flight from self-concern. And the man who locks himself up in private with his own selfishness has put himself into a position where the evil within him will either possess him like a devil or drive him out of his head.

That is why it is dangerous to go into solitude merely because you like to be alone.

–Thomas Merton

Advertisements