Item description for New Seeds of Contemplation (Shambhala Library) by Thomas Merton...
In print for more than forty years, New Seeds of Contemplation has served as a guide to the contemplative life for several generations of spiritual seekers. The word contemplation is itself somewhat problematical, according to Thomas Merton: "It can become almost a magic word, or if not magic, then 'inspirational,' which is almost as bad." In this modern Christian classic, Merton reveals contemplation to be nothing other than "life itself, fully awake, fully active, fully aware that it is alive." The thirty-nine short "seeds" that make up this book are intended to awaken and cultivate the contemplative, mystical dimension of the spiritual path for everyone. New Seeds of Contemplation is a revised and expanded version of Merton's earlier book Seeds of Contemplation.
"Destined to go down as one of the great spiritual classics of our century."—Francine du Plessix Gray, New Republic
"A guide for countless generations of spiritual seekers."— Monos
Thomas Merton (1915–1968) was a Trappist monk, spiritual director, political activist, social critic, and one of the most-read spiritual writers of the twentieth century. He is the author of many books, including The Seven Storey Mountain.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 6.92" Width: 6.38" Height: 1.02" Weight: 0.73 lbs.
Release Date Jun 24, 2003
ISBN 1590300491 ISBN13 9781590300497
Availability 0 units.
More About Thomas Merton
Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a Trappist monk, spiritual director, political activist, social critic, and one of the most-read spiritual writers of the twentieth century. He is the author of many books, including The Seven Storey Mountain.
Reviews - What do customers think about New Seeds of Contemplation (Shambhala Library)?
A Modern Classic? Nov 11, 2008
There is so much wisdom packed into this book - it is a pleasure to follow Merton's nuanced and penetrating mind into the depth of the Christian faith. I particularly enjoyed the introductory chapters on the nature of contemplation, the "moral theology of the devil" and "the woman clothed in the sun". You may also enjoy Merton's "Ascent to Truth" and "The Inner Experience". May you be inspired and challenged by this book.
An Excellent Gateway to Merton and the Contemplative Life! Aug 9, 2008
Seeds of Contemplation is a great gateway to Merton's many profound and enriching works on prayer and spirituality. It contains many short chapters which deal with the basics of the contemplative life - solitude and community, silence and words, distractions and dark nights, faith and doubt, etc. It is a helpful and essential guide for any who aspires to be a 'contemplative' - that is, to grow in the life of prayer and communion with God (and Merton would caution that we use this loaded word carefully). It clears the ground by explaining what contemplation is and is not, the unmasking of the false self, the place of solitude and silence vis-a-vis the community, the experiences of distractions and dryness and interacts with the traditional imageries of the 'living flame' and being 'touched by God' that one frequently encounters in the classical mystical writings (such as John of the Cross, Cloud of Unknowing). It really is an excellent introduction of the contemplative life for the beginners. Yet, he has said elsewhere too that if anyone desires to be a contemplative, let him not think of himself as anything else but a beginner!
This book is a combination of clarity and profundity and few books succeed in making sense of the contemplative life to the lay reader without making it sound either pedestrian or esoteric. The beauty with which it is written and the timeless quality of its counsels to people in every age that thirst for authenticity and a life of deepening union with God makes it an enduring classic.
Classic, Timeless, Beautiful Jul 1, 2008
I can't say enough good things about this book. It's hard for me to not just gush endlessly. It's beautiful, it's beautifully written, it's great. You can savor each page for hours. It's wonderful for Catholics, it's wonderful for all (open-minded) Christians, it's wonderful for spiritual people of all faiths. Only the most hardened atheist could not find something enlightening here. Stupendous.
"To hope is to risk frustration. So make up your mind in advance to risk frustration." May 19, 2008
Thomas Merton's "New Seeds of Contemplation" is nothing short of life-changing: the complexity of his relationship with the interior life and titanic inward spirituality makes this the kind of book you will refer to for your entire life and may never understand it fully even then (I don't, and have read it twice now). For all that, you will still enjoy and admire the man.
Just about everything he says applies very well to modern civilization, and the amazing thing is that he wrote all of this from the Abbey of Gesthemani.
"Hell is where no one has anything in common with anybody else except the fact that they all hate one another and cannot get away from one another and themselves. They are all thrown together in their fire and each tries to thrust the others away from him with a huge impotent hatred. And the reason why they want to be free of one another is not somuch that they hate what they see in others, as that that they know others hate what they see in them: and all recognize in one another what they detest in themselves, selfishness and impotence, agony, terror and despair."
This IS 21st century civilization, at least in America; we are so alienated from one another and the concept of spiritual intimacy with other human beings that it is little wonder we respon out of our own nothingness with bombs and senseless wars and elect "morally compromised" individuals to run our nation: we live in Sartre's "No Exit".
And that is another extraordinary and odd thing about Merton's work: it is rooted in theology and yet he naturally touches and transcends--for the most part--the atheistic despair of the 20th century without losing his faith. One of his most definitive works, "The Literary Essays", is actually devoted for the most part to none other than Albert Camus.
And yet one cannot deny that in some ways, and Merton would have been the first to admit this, his work is indeed written for those either considering or living a contemplative work, and just from the title of this book he makes it obvious. Some reviewers complain about being "active people" and not being able to "live Merton". Well, he was a monk in a Trappist Monastery: he did write for those who lived in civilization. "Love and Living" or "Thoughts in Solitude" are examples.
One cannot exaggerate the importance of spiritual mentors like this in contemporary times. I would fear, even more, for the safety of humanity if these kind of books were not still around.
Merton not for everyone May 3, 2008
As with many puffed up intellectuals, Merton complicates some very simple ideas. Finding the bottom line of what he was trying to say involved fighting my way through a lot of unnecessary verbage. I would think that if God wanted "contemplation" brought to the masses he would have picked a better mouthpiece than Merton. Merton also seemed angry and irritated with the human race which I found distracting. I was very disappointed. After reading some of the positive reviews I expected a message with more depth and weight. This book is great for people who live in their head but if you're more the active type I would pass it by. You won't find much in the way of spiritual how to and instruction.