If you want a spiritual life, you must unify your life. A life is either all spiritual or not at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.

Thomas Merton. Thoughts in Solitude (New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1958): 56.

“Stopping,

and counting every sound,

stopping,

and seeing every stone,

stopping,

and letting in the wind,

stopping,

and not having to be somebody.”

– 11 year old Peter Rosegarden

(spoken on his death bed)

“For someone who has not yet found the way to enter within himself, pilgrimages to holy places are a help. But for him who has found it they are a dissipation of energy, for they force him to come out from the innermost part of himself. It is time for you now to learn more perfectly how to remain within. You should abandon your external plans.”

–Theophan the Recluse

If there is no silence beyond and within the words of doctrine, there is no religion, only religious ideology. For religion goes beyond words and actions, and attains to the ultimate truth in silence. When this silence is lacking, where there are only the “many words” and not the One Word, then there is much bustle and activity, but no peace, no deep thought, no understanding, no inner quiet. Where there is no peace, there is no light. The mind that is hyper-active seems to itself to be awake and productive, but it is dreaming. Only in silence and solitude, in the quiet of worship, the reverent peace of prayer, the adoration in which the entire ego-self silences and abases itself in the presence of the Invisible God, only in these “activities” which are “non-actions” does the spirit truly awake from the dream of a multifarious and confused existence.

Thomas Merton. Honorable Reader: Reflections on My Work.
Edited by Robert E. Daggy (New York: Crossroad, 1989): 115.

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