"I am stiil trying to find out" Thomas Merton

“‘then what do you know about our courage and our fear? Where do you come from? What is the basis of your statements about us? You say you wrote what you see, but no two men see the same street here. What do you see that you write? What do you mean when you talk about our courage and our fear?’

‘i am still trying to find out: and that is why I write. ‘

‘how will you find out by writing?’

‘i will keep putting things down until they become clear.’

‘and if they do not become clear?’

‘i will have a hundred books, full of symbols, full of everything I ever knew or ever saw or ever thought.’

‘If it never becomes clear, perhaps you will have more books than if it were all clear at once.’

‘no doubt. But i say if it were all clear at once, I would not really understand it, either. Somethings are too clear to be understood, and what you think is your understanding of them is only a kind of charm, a kind of incantation in your mind concerning things. This is not understanding: it is something you remember. So much for definitions! We always have to go back and start from the beginning and make over all the definitions for ourselves. ‘”

Thomas Merton, from journal of my escape from the Nazis, 1941.

“i am not here to think about being a writer: except I am here to try to learn humility and how to do god’s will and serve him the best way I can, and writing has something to do with all these things, accidentally, because it happens that I like to write, and try and know how.”

Thomas Merton, 9/3/1941

‘at the moment writing is the one thing that gives me access to some real silence and solitude. Also I find that it helps me to pray because, when I pause form my work (writing or making), I find that the mirror inside me is surprisingly clean and deep and serene and god shines there and is immediately found, without hunting as if he had come close to me while I was writing (and making) and I had not observed his coming (and therefore did not skitter away).’

Thomas Merton, 9/1/1949