28 May 2014

A Contemplative Moment: The Silence of Solitude


The truest solitude is not something outside you, not an absence of men or of sound around you; it is an abyss opening up in the center of your own soul.
And this abyss of solitude is created by a hunger that will never be satisfied by any created thing.
The only way to find solitude is by hunger and thirst and sorrow and poverty and desire, and the man who has found solitude is empty, as if he had been emptied by death.
He has advanced beyond all horizons. There are no directions left in which to travel. And this is a country whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. You do not find it by travelling but by standing still.
Yet it is in this loneliness that the deepest activities begin. It is here that you discover act without motion, labor that is profound repose, vision in obscurity, and, beyond all desire, a fulfillment whose limits extend to infinity.

Thomas Merton, OCSO, Seeds of Contemplation