Metaphysical Monday: Thomas Merton

By Seth Hecox on August-13-2012 | Filed under Essay On Pay It Forward.

Metaphysical Monday:  Thomas Merton

Last weekend, my wife and I visited a Benedictine Priory. We were able to attend the nightly Compline service they had, which is a nightly music service meant for meditation and evening prayers to end the day of work in which the monks have labored.

At the priory, my thoughts turned to Thomas Merton, one of my favorite authors.  I’ve made no secret of my affection for the writings of C.S. Lewis, and Merton is another in this line of spiritual thinkers that come from a different background than I do.  Merton was a Trappist monk who wrote mostly in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s while at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky.  I was able to visit that Abbey on a tour with Anchors a few years ago and enjoyed celebrating the life of Merton and the heritage he left behind.

Thomas Merton was recognized in his own time as a great author and as a pioneer in dialogue between cultures, as he spoke with the Dalai Lama and other notable Eastern spiritualists.  The author of over 70 books, Merton is still revered in the mystic Christian tradition and I continue to glean insights into my spiritual life from his thoughts and writings.

So I’ll end on a quote of his that relates to our field of experience (art):

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

About the author Seth Hecox

I play music and write articles. I write the Metaphysical Monday article for IVM. I have a folk project due out later this year. I identify with the Reformed aspects of the Christian faith and I live in the Appalachian Mountains of North Georgia. Follow my musical life at and my (lame) comedy life at View all posts by Seth Hecox

10 Responses to 'Metaphysical Monday: Thomas Merton'

  1. Merton is a champ. Has a lot of good writings. Same with Lewis. Have you by chance read any of Thomas à Kempis? Imitation of Christ?

  2. BC says:

    Good to see the Benedictines mentioned, especially since I attend a seminary ran by Benedictine monks! I haven’t read any of Merton’s works, but I hope to in the future, especially his autobiography “The Seven Storey Mountain”.

  3. I’ve read Dialogues with Silence and parts of Seven Storey Mountain…what other books would you recommend?

  4. David says:

    I wonder how long it’ll take for someone to get upset about the words “mystic” and “monk.” I was trying to find some of Merton’s work the other day, but instead, I got three Watchman Nee books for $20. No complaints. Good quote, though. Art is definitely a double-edged sword… Some people put their entire identity in it and some people (as myself) actually find Christ through it. Go figure!

  5. Company That Writes Dissertation In Hungary 4g visit. says:

    Merton is one of my favourites as well, I would recommend his booksNew Seeds of Contemplation and No Man Is An Islandto anybody.

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