In his book, “Zen and the Birds of Appetite,” Thomas Merton wrote, “All religions…’meet at the top,’ and their various theologies and philosophies become irrelevant when we see that they are merely means for arriving at the same end…”
Speaking of Merton’s thought on the universal journey, Buddhist Bonnie Thurston interprets “meditation, not narrowly as a religious practice, but as a broad life stance,
a world view, founded in the practice of prayer.”
In the picture of Ben and the pinecone that we posted on Facebook we hoped to speak of meditation in this larger context – of, stopping, looking, seeing and hence becoming
part of the very landscape of being. We are born with this gift. Sometimes other preoccupations prevent us, distract us from being the contemplatives we are.
In preparation for the 100th anniversary of Merton’s birth this coming December, Wisdom House Retreat and Conference Center is offering two weekends dedicated to his work. The first is in March. The presenter is Christopher Pramuk. We strongly suggest for those who want to pursue the inner life, attendance at all or part of this March gathering. Our personal experience of Pramuk is of a gifted writer and speaker who has allowed Merton’s work to support both his spirit as well as his writing.
Those of us on the “contemplative quest” need remember, as Merton put it, “There is more to human life than just ‘getting somewhere’ in war, politics, business.” This “more” is fortified by watching the snow as it falls, listening to the bird singing, being awed by a small child’s laughter, or CONTEMPLATING A PINE CONE.