Day 32 – Forty Days with Thomas Merton

Day 32
As soon as I get into a cell by myself I am a different person! Prayer becomes what it ought to be. Everything is very quiet. The door is closed but I have the window open. It is warm — grey clouds fly all night — and all day the frogs sing.

Now it is evening. The frogs still sing. After the showers of rain around dinnertime, the sky cleared. All afternoon I sat on the bed rediscovering God, rediscovering myself, and the office and Scripture and everything.

It has been one of the most wonderful days I have ever known in my life, and yet I am not attached to that part of it either. My pleasure or the contentment that I may have experienced out of silence and solitude and freedom from all care does not matter. But I know that is the way I ought to be living: with my mind and senses silent, contacts with the world of business and war and community troubles severed — not solicitous for anything high or low or far or near — not pushing myself around with my own fancies or desires or projects — and not letting myself get hurried off my feet by the excessive current of activity that flows through Gethsemani with full force.”

— Thomas Merton in A Year with Thomas Merton: Daily Meditations from His Journals edited by Jonathan Montaldo

Today: “Equanimity” is defined as, “a mental or emotional stability or composure, esp. under tension or strain; calmness; equilibrium.” Consider envisioning your emotions on a graph. Would you describe it as “Peaks and Valleys” or “Rolling Waves” or maybe even a “Roller Coaster Ride”?  Why do you suppose Merton seeks equanimity? What advantages are there in this form of spirituality?

+Ed Jansen, OSB

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