Thursday, June 23, 2005

Everything becomes a distraction

'Suppose that my "poverty" be a secret hunger for spiritual riches: suppose that by pretending to empty myself, pretending to be silent, I am really trying to cajole God into enriching me with some experience - what then? Then everything becomes a distraction. All created things interfere with my quest for some special experience. I must shut them out, or they will tear me apart. What is worse - I myself am a distraction.
But, unhappiest thing of all - if my prayer is centered in myself, if it seeks only an enrichment of my own self, my prayer itself will be my greatest potential distraction. Full of my own curiosity, I have eaten of the tree of Knowledge and torn myself away from myself and from God. I am left rich and alone and nothing can assuage my hunger: everything I touch turns into a distraction.'

- Merton, Thomas.Thoughts In Solitude.Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New
York. 1956. Pg. 93, 94.

It seems to take a lot of wearing down - disillusionment, frustration, failures - to give up chasing things. The worst thing one could chase, of course, is spirituality. And what a contradiction in terms that is! For real spirituality is the ultimate non-attachment and non-pursuit. It is a pursuit that only happens when one gives it up. And sometimes when we have a bit too much self energy, we try to try, in vain, of course. - YY


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