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Seeking Paradise: The Spirit of the Shakers…
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Seeking Paradise: The Spirit of the Shakers

by Thomas Merton

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Thomas Merton visited Pleasant Hill several times in the late 50's and 60's. And, many of the photographs in this little masterpiece were taken by him, on those visits. Paul M. Pearson has done a magnificent job editing and introducing this little book for ORBIS.

Fr. Louis, (Merton's Cistercian name, given to him at his first profession of vows,) loved the simplicity and joy of the Shaker life. He refers to them at times in his Journals, and in the 1967 collection of essays, "Mystics an Zen Masters". He also wrote the introduction to Edward Deming Andrews and Faith Andrew's wonderful classic, "Religion in Wood" (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1973) .

The Selected Correspondence at the end of this book, and the wonderful photographs give us an insight into the gentleness and esteem that this monk and poet held for the Craftsmanship, and Shaker Way of Life. If you come across a copy, I am sure that it would be a welcome addition to your library. ( )
  hermanojohn | Jun 27, 2012 |
I was not disappointed in purchasing this book on a recent visit to Shaker Village, Pleasant Hill, Kentucky. Throughout the last decade of Thomas Merton's life, he made a number of visits to Shaker Village in Kentucky. He expressed an interest in the Shaker's life of simplicity and their sense of community in many of his journal writings and through his correspondence with others. There are also many of his own personal photographs of Shaker Village included in this book.

I especially liked the Shaker maxim that was noted in a transcrip of a conference Merton gave at the Abbey of Gethsemani in July of 1964 - "Labor until you bring your spirits to feel satisfied." He truly believed that this tied in so closely with the monastic life - his life. He believed this Shaker truth to be so important for the spiritual life.

He also makes several references to William Blake on the imagination and draws a connecting line to the Shaker's sense of creative imagination. He sees this expressed through their craftsmanship and spirit. ( )
  linsleo | Jul 26, 2011 |
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