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New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton
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New Seeds of Contemplation (1961)

by Thomas Merton

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For the second time, my father gave me a Thomas Merton book. I take it that I had actually better start reading them before he asks me questions about the texts...
  50MinuteMermaid | Nov 14, 2013 |
If you read nothing else by Merton, read this. Personal, direct, and lucid, it contains some of his most challenging insights into the struggle to find an honest relationship with God and one's fellow humans. The book takes a compelling yet thoughtful look at a wide variety of spiritual themes, but is -- like most of Merton's writings -- devoid of theorizing. A must for anyone who is ready to seriously reassess the reality and direction of his or her life. But beware: you will not emerge untouched. Reprinted over twenty times and translated into more than twelve languages.
  Priory | Aug 30, 2013 |
Thoughtful ( )
  Harrod | Dec 3, 2008 |
Once again, Merton has written a book that includes many of his thoughts. This one takes great lengths to determine what contemplation is and what it is not. This is very helpful, because, this seems to be an area that is fairly fad-like at the time and he is very clear in saying that it is not possible to tell someone how to really into contemplation. All he is able to offer are his experiences into the way of asceticism, which may point in a direction but fortunately does not give any specific direction. He is quite wonderful and this is another example of some of his great thoughts. ( )
  jd234512 | Aug 19, 2007 |
"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
The best place to begin reading TM ( )
  LTW | Sep 2, 2006 |
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Epigraph
Tu Qui Sedes in Tenebris Spe Tua Gaude: Orta Stella Matutina Sol Non Tradabit.
Dedication
First words
What is Contemplation? Contemplation is the highest expression of man's intellectual and spiritual life. It is that life itself, fully awake, fully active, fully aware that it is alive. If is spiritual wonder. It is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being.
Quotations
The silence of the spheres is the music of a wedding feast. The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life, the more we analyze them out into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own, the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity and despair. But it does not matter much, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things, or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want to to or not.
Omnia in omnibus deus.
Vivo, iam non ego, vivit vero in me Christus.
Bonum est praestolari cum silentio salutare Dei.
Lux in tenebris lucet et tenebrae eam non comprehenderunt.
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Disambiguation notice
New Seeds of Contemplation is a revised and expanded version of Merton's earlier book Seeds of Contemplation.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 081120099X, Paperback)

"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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:40 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

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.… (more)

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