“The Contemplative Life”

Thomas Merton (1915-1968), the Trappist monk and author, has been a major influence in my life via his writings and the influence he has had on others that I admire (e.g. The Dalai Lama, Richard Rohr). For anyone curious, I strongly recommend you explore his writings.

He has referred to “The True Self” in his writing which is, as I understand, our self that is beyond ego, beyond fear, beyond even what we consider our identity. It is, as he describes it, reachable by way of a contemplative practice. His description is comparable to those of Buddhist, Hindu, and Sufi figures throughout history which I find fascinating and encouraging. To use Richard Rohr’s term, it rings of “perennial truth”.

In the past few years, I’ve made it a daily routine to awaken 1 hour before I have to get ready to depart the home so as to allow a time of prayer, meditation, reading, etc. It has made a subtle but noticeable difference in my demeanor and inner peace. It has been akin to dipping my proverbial toe into the contemplative waters.

I share this as much to note to myself that, in spite of my noisy mind, fears, frustrations, and shortcomings, I have made some minor progress in this life to understand what serenity is. I know enough to know it is elusive and isn’t something to grab or obtain so much as it is something to be uncovered and rediscovered. It is, I believe (as Merton put it), to discover our true self.

May peace be with you,


What I Read in 2022

As the year wraps up, here are the recommendable books I read this past year (I’ll spare you the few that I regretted reading):