In the following passage written by Thomas Merton in a journal entry for June 20, 1966, "Christ" should be taken to refer to the Christ-life that dwells in every one of us, whether "Christian" or not:
"Basic: the struggle for lucidity, out of which compassion can at last arise. Then you are free. That is, you are lost: there is no self to save. You simply love. Free of desire for oneself, desiring only lucidity for oneself and others. One only ceases to be absurd when, realizing that everything is absurd when seen in isolation from everything else, meaning and value are sought only in wholeness. The solitary must, therefore, return to the heart of life and oneness, losing himself or herself, not in the massive illusions, but simply in the root reality, plunging through the center of his or her own nothingness, and coming out in the All which is the Void and which is, if you like, the Love of God.
"One can cease to be absurd only by experiencing the fact that there is no wall between ourselves and others, in other words, by accepting the absurdity of our own life in terms of the suffering of others: no separating 'my' pain, suffering, limitation, lostness, etc., from that of others. As long as a single person is lost, I am lost. To try to save myself by getting free from the mass of the "damned" and becoming good by myself, is to be both "damned" and absurd - as well as antichrist. Christ descended into hell to show that He willed to be lost with the lost, in a certain sense emptied so that they might be filled and saved, in the realization that now their lostness was not theirs but HIS. Hence the way one begins to make sense out of life is by taking upon oneself the lostness of everyone - and then realizing not that one has done something, or 'made sense,' but that one has simply entered into the stream of realization. The rest will work out by itself, and we do not know what that might mean."
Photo: Alpenglow on Long's Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO, November 14, 2015
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I am available for one-on-one sessions giving instruction in Wilderness Insight Meditation and Wilderness Contemplative Prayer, or for spiritual direction / mentoring via phone or Skype. You can contact me at email@example.com if you are interested. The rate is $65 per hour-long session. You might also want to check out my Spiritual Direction with Stephen Hatch Facebook page.
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Stephen Hatch, M.A. is a spiritual teacher and photographer from Fort Collins, Colorado. His approach is contemplative, inter-spiritual, and Earth-based.