click image to enlarge

The Inner Experience

Notes on Contemplation
By: ,
Contributor Role: 
By (author)
Contributor Sequence Number: 
Contributor name: 
Paperback Book
May, 2004
$19.99 CAD
Banyen's Description: 

Thomas Merton’s final book explores the meaning and daily practice of contemplation—the heart of monastic and religious experience. This is his most comprehensive work on the subject. And now, the Merton Legacy Trust has decided to produce this expertly edited treatment, which Merton was finishing at the time of his death. The Inner Experience is a major addition to the Merton canon.

Faithfully edited by Merton scholar William H. Shannon, The Inner Experience bridges Merton’s early, thoroughly Catholic works on contemplation with his later, wide-ranging writings. This book signals his growing interest in Eastern, especially Buddhist, traditions of meditation and spirituality, which significantly influenced his thinking and writing in the last decade of his life.

One of the strange laws of the contemplative life is that in it you do not sit down and solve problems: you bear with them until they somehow solve themselves. Or until life itself solves them for you. Usually the solution consists in a discovery that they only existed insofar as they were inseparably connected with your own illusory, exterior self. The solution of most such problems comes with the dissolution of this false self… This means renouncing the illusory self that seeks to be “happy” and to find “fulfillment” (whatever that may mean) in contemplation. For the contemplative and spiritual self, the dormant, mysterious, and hidden self that is always effaced by the activity of our exterior self does not seek fulfillment. It is content to be, and in its being it is fulfilled, because its being is rooted in God.

The Inner Experience not only provides a far-reaching presentation of the best teaching about contemplation and meditation, but also shows how contemplation can be practiced in everyday life.

Among Thomas Merton’s many books are The Seven-Storey Mountain and New Seeds of Contemplation.

Publisher’s Description: 

Now in paperback, revised and redesigned: This is Thomas Merton's last book, in which he draws on both Eastern and Western traditions to explore the hot topic of contemplation/meditation in depth and to show how we can practice true contemplation in everyday life.

Never before published except as a series of articles (one per chapter) in an academic journal, this book on contemplation was revised by Merton shortly before his untimely death. The material bridges Merton's early work on Catholic monasticism, mysticism, and contemplation with his later writing on Eastern, especially Buddhist, traditions of meditation and spirituality. This book thus provides a comprehensive understanding of contemplation that draws on the best of Western and Eastern traditions.

Merton was still tinkering with this book when he died; it was the book he struggled with most during his career as a writer. But now the Merton Legacy Trust and experts have determined that the book makes such a valuable contribution as his major comprehensive presentation of contemplation that they have allowed its publication.

Thomas Merton’s Fullest Exploration of Contemplation -- Western and Eastern

Community Reviews

Login or Register to post a review