From my experiences at these various monasteries, I found that it wasn't until I sat through these things in silence and space that I could reach a much deeper and often darker place of self-discovery, which led and still leads me to more of my true self.
There was a grace, a simplicity, to the river's ever-changing ripples, waves and current that shows us not only why, but how to let go of the past and embrace change. What the river does so well is accommodate. It accommodates the gentle breeze and the cutting prow of the barge equally.
The stewards of these many acres understand that with land comes power, and a good number of them are dedicated to use that power to stop what they see as an onslaught against the earth's sacred soil, sacred air and sacred water as well as the safety and well-being of human communities.
I'm going to be brutally honest here. I know it's a popular theory that the means to God is through suffering, but I'm not a proponent. In fact, I'm not a believer in suffering as a means to anything, really, except pain.
Since his passing, many have been and will continue to be writing about their memories of and experiences with Will Campbell -- and rightfully so. I look forward to reading them. But I now understand why Will chose to keep his Thomas Merton memories to himself.
My dreams at night were about Destrehan and New Orleans. School friends from the 1980s were mixed together with my seminary studies, with my church, and with my family in 2005-2006. It was like time ceased to exist and everything and everybody were all stirred in together in one big kettle.
"Returning to Reality" demonstrates how the wisdom of a contemplative master from the past can remain surprisingly relevant to the concerns of the present. Merton's perspective on technology echoes not only Thoreau, but even Christ's assessment of the religious customs of his day.
Certain individuals usher us into great moments in our lives. I was a guest speaker at a Kentucky campus in the early 1960s when, to my surprise, I received an invitation to visit one of the world's renowned religious leaders, Thomas Merton.
At present there is a standoff between the Vatican and the organization that represents 80 percent of American nuns. The hierarchy likely will break the stalemate right after the noisy election season. But what seems like a straight, rigid line looks more convoluted on further examination.
My own tradition has mistakenly taught that meditation is an eastern practice and that Christians pray instead. What many do not know, however, is that meditation is the highest form of Christian prayer, too.
The trendy word that I've noticed most lately is "metaphor." This used to be confined mainly to academia, but in the past few years it has broken out like a rash among the general population. I am curious about how such trends get started.