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Sunday, October 22, 2006

The inner self

"The inner self is as secret as God and, like Him, it evades every concept that tries to seize hold of it with full possession. It is a life that cannot be held and studied as object, because it is not "a thing." It is not reached and coaxed forth from hiding by any process under the sun, including meditation. All that we can do with any spiritual discipline is produce within ourselves something of the silence, the humility, the detachment, the purity of heart and the indifference which are required if the inner self is to make some shy, unpredictable manifestation of his Presence."
--Thomas Merton "The Inner Experience"

4 comments:

Lifewish said...

Have you ever read a book called "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"? Your views seem to be quite similar to those of the author.

Bro. Bartleby said...

No, I have never read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" but I have met a few Zen Buddhist along the way. I do recall this spirit in Zen that I find refreshing, I have seen it depicted in a few brush and ink paintings, one from the 13th century China by Liang K'ai, titled "The Sixth Patriarch Tearing Up a Sutra". It captures in brush strokes a gleeful old monk tearing and tossing the pages of the Sutra into the air, akin to the words of Paul when he wrote to the church at Corinth, "...for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." (2 Corinthians 3:6).

John said...

Where exactly is the "inner" self in relation to everything "else"?
Is there really any separation or is it all a presumption in mind?
Please check out these related essays.
1. www.dabase.net/dualsens.htm
2. www.dabase.net/dht7.htm
3. www.dabase.net/2armP1.htm#ch1b
4. www.dabase.net/christmc2.htm
5. www.dabase.net/coop+tol.htm

Bro. Bartleby said...

Bro. John,
That is a Thomas Merton quote, "The inner self is as secret as God and, like Him, it evades every concept that tries to seize hold of it with full possession. It is a life that cannot be held and studied as object, because it is not "a thing."

A quote I find worthy of contemplation. I agree with Merton that a mystery exists when it come to the "inner self," and I hesitate when some think not a mystery, for I'm afraid the ego loves to claim all, even the mystery of the "inner self."