Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Real Journey of Life

"The only way to change the world is to change the thoughts and desires of those who live in it."

These words by Thomas Merton, so characteristically direct, honest and insightful, have, it seems to me, both spiritual and political dimensions.

The real journey in life, Merton wrote, is interior, and the "world" for him is the outward expression of our inner lives.

Having just completed directing two retreats on Merton and contemplative silence, I hope I have done a little to affect, if not change, the thoughts of those attending. Most of my retreatants in south Florida and in central Florida responded well to the Psalmist's message, "Be still and know...." They could see that quieting down and listening to the "still, small voice" of God is essential for them and for those they encounter.

How can we expect our lives to be peaceful when we don't cultivate inner peace?
How can we expect peace in the world if we are overly busy, restless, anxious...? The questions are easy to pose. Realizing solutions is never easy, yet the coming to power of the Obama administration gives many of us hope that, at last, we have a thoughtful, patient and intelligent man leading a gifted group of people through some of the most turbulent problems imaginable.

If Obama succeeds in reaching those who resent him at home because of his race and in reaching those beyond our shores in the Islamic world, and if they really listen, as he is capable of listening, I believe much good will be done to reduce the ancient tensions that provoke violence.

That, at least, is a noble hope and wish for this season of peace.



Hi Jerry ...

All my twenty four year journey of discovery of the real and natural Mary Elizabeth is of the spirit. Please read the article from ORION Magazine to hear how a man of nature discovered spirit being connected to global warming and our lives.(Link is in my Christmas message.) My blog has not been updated recently but I intend to post end of the year thoughts.Another companion blog, is in development Elizabeth Alexander, the poet who will speak at Obama's inauguration, is a writer I believe who is a poet of the spirit. Also, one of my favorite contemporary poets-writers is David Whyte -- A favorite poem of his I will send you. He spoke at VCC West Campus in October .. profound with great spirit! He has a new book coming out in January which I hope will be an integral part of my readings.

The story behind Finding Timothy is of teh spirit, and I believe it is this Christmas twenty four years old!

Patricia said...

Hello Gerald,

Just stopping in to see how you're doing with your book--Writing With Cats. And I wanted to let you know about my new book--something completely different from my norm of writing and publishing.

Yup, my book number 29 is a book of cat stories. I call it, Catscapades, Tales of Ordinary and Extraordinary Cats.

Check it out at And let me know if you would like to receive the ebook version to review for your blog.

Patricia Fry