Item description for New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton & Thomas Merton...
One of Father Thomas Merton's most widely read, translated and beloved books is once again available in audio form. This invaluable reflection on meditation awakens the heart through a spiritual journey inside what makes us human. It guides the listener through a very personal soul searching toward the goal of contemplative spirituality and enlightenment. No book in modern times so defines the modern meditative tradition.
Outline "It can become almost a magic word," Thomas Merton says of contemplation; "or if not magic, then inspirational, which is almost as bad." With these words, Merton takes us through the reality of contemplation, which is, the author says, "life itself, fully awake, fully active, fully aware that it is alive. It is spiritual wonder." Above all, contemplation is "awareness of the reality" of the Source, "with a certitude that goes beyond reason and beyond simple faith." As these definitions should suggest, in this 20th-century classic on the contemplative life, as in the best of Merton's work, this Trappist monk wonderfully combines a disciplined and deeply learned intellect with the lyrical passion of the poet. It is this rare combination that makes this book not only informative but also moving. Covering a diverse range of subjects ("Faith," "The Night of the Senses," "Renunciation"), it moves the reader through certain traditional "phases" of contemplation, and gives an idea of what to expect in this spiritual process (including despair and darkness). The book describes, but it also enacts. In its own prose it invites the reader to "cast our awful solemnity to the winds and join in the general dance." --Doug Thorpe
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Studio: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.9" Width: 5.2" Height: 0.8" Weight: 1 lbs.
Release Date Mar 1, 2001
Publisher New Directions Publishing Corporation
ISBN 081120099X ISBN13 9780811200998
Availability 0 units.
More About Thomas Merton & 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?
"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.
Good Challenge for a Contemplative Life Apr 4, 2008
"New Seeds of Contemplation" by Thomas Merton considers the virtues of a contemplative life. With the hectic pace of today's life, time for contemplation and being alone with God is even more important lest we lose our souls in the process of trying to make a living.
While Merton was a Catholic monk, anyone can benefit from the read even if you do not agree with any or all of Catholic theology. While I am not Catholic, I did enjoy parts of the book, particulary the following chapters:
What Contemplation Is Not Pray For Your Own Discovery Solitude Is Not Separation Learn To Be Alone Detachment Journey Through The Wilderness Sharing The Fruits of Contemplation
I especially liked the statement mentioned in the Sharing The Fruits of Contemplation chapter: "If we experience God in contemplation, we experience Him not for ourselves alone, but also for others".
Indeed, if we seek solitude so we can participate in morbid introspection or self-absorption, then we have missed the point. As a committed Christian, I use solitude to draw closer to God and seek His wisdom and strength to better serve others in my various roles in life (husband, father, relative, friend, church member, employee, neighbor, volunteer, instructor, etc.).
Again, whether or not you are a Catholic, Protestant, or whatever, you will benefit in some way from reading the book.
Read and enjoy. Recommended.
Thomas Merton, Seeds of Contemplation Dec 21, 2007
Reading books about Thomas Merton reflecting on our inner spirituality, meditating on principles of life and so much more leaves the reader "lost" in the book. This book is a very slow read because the reader reflects often on what is written. It is difficult to explain how Thomas Merton is simplistic in verbage yet his sage insight makes one ponder their own thoughts and actions about life. I recommend any and all Thomas Merton books. Be mezmorized.
Profound Jul 24, 2007
One of Merton's deepest books, especially for the contrast between the false self and the true self.