Dec. 10 is a key date in the life of Thomas Merton: he entered the Trappist monastery, Abbey of the Gethsemani, in Kentucky on that date in 1941, and on Dec. 10, 1968, he died in Bangkok after 27 years as a monk, peace activist, poet, and, above all, prolific spiritual writer.
In commemorating his 45th anniversary, I quote an excerpt from The Hidden Ground of Love, in which Merton outlines the dimensions of selfless compassion:
Meditating on someone else's predicament and generating a strong feeling of compassion can lead us into visualizing that they find relief, comfort, joy, and a uplifted spirit. When we continue to practice this we find ourselves desiring to alleviate the suffering of others. This exercise helps us remain in a state of unrestricted and objectless compassion all the time.