Tag Archives: Thomas Merton

Extend that moment

If it is unexpected and unpredicted, it is real; it is true. When we are taken by surprise, when we are seized and ravished by the experience of being stood upside down, the mind stops. In that moment, what “sleeps in our paper flesh like dynamite” explodes, and we are conscious of not knowing anything.



Inner progress is not a linear movement. It is a slow circularity, like ascending a mountain by walking around it.

Slow is good.


According to the Sufis (Islam in its mystical aspect), we are at Wisdom’s summit when we know where we come from. If I say I am the issue of some brief friction between a man and a woman, and if I engross myself in the story of that, I stand at the rail of a tavern at the base of the mountain.

The dynamite in our paper flesh

If we have not learned what we need to learn, we repeat the lesson. In the beginning, we are slow learners. As we advance, some among us learn explosively.

Life does not fail, man does not fail, and what looks like failure, never is. In spiritual terms, it is simply impossible to fail. How can anyone imagine that Life will be defeated? That It has a Vader-esque opposite called Death? ‘Scuse me while I stifle myself!

Nobody starts, stops and finishes. We are part of a bigger story than me and mine. We are parabola. At the very least, we are as beautiful as that.

We do not develop; we are being developed, refined, worked on, made exquisite. It’s not our choice. (As if destiny was a choice. Does a child say, ‘I’ve developed enough. The work is finished’?)