New Seeds of Contemplation

New Seeds of Contemplation

Thomas Merton / Apr 02, 2020

New Seeds of Contemplation New Seeds of Contemplation is one of Thomas Merton s most widely read and best loved books Christians and non Christians alike have joined in praising it as a notable successor in the meditative tradi

  • Title: New Seeds of Contemplation
  • Author: Thomas Merton
  • ISBN: 9780811217248
  • Page: 186
  • Format: Paperback
  • New Seeds of Contemplation is one of Thomas Merton s most widely read and best loved books Christians and non Christians alike have joined in praising it as a notable successor in the meditative tradition of St John of the Cross, The Cloud of Unknowing, and the medieval mystics, while others have compared Merton s reflections with those of Thoreau New Seeds of ContemplaNew Seeds of Contemplation is one of Thomas Merton s most widely read and best loved books Christians and non Christians alike have joined in praising it as a notable successor in the meditative tradition of St John of the Cross, The Cloud of Unknowing, and the medieval mystics, while others have compared Merton s reflections with those of Thoreau New Seeds of Contemplation seeks to awaken the dormant inner depths of the spirit so long neglected by Western man, to nurture a deeply contemplative and mystical dimension in our lives For Merton, Every moment and every event of every man s life on earth plants something in his soul For just as the wind carries thousands of winged seeds, so each moment brings with it germs of spiritual vitality that come to rest imperceptibly in the minds and wills of men Most of these unnumbered seeds perish and are lost, because men are not prepared to receive them for such seeds as these cannot spring up anywhere except in the soil of freedom, spontaneity and love.

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    About "Thomas Merton"

      • Thomas Merton

        Thomas Merton was one of the most influential Catholic authors of the 20th century A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani, in the American state of Kentucky, Merton was an acclaimed Catholic spiritual writer, poet, author and social activist Merton wrote over 60 books, scores of essays and reviews, and is the ongoing subject of many biographies Merton was also a proponent of inter religious dialogue, engaging in spiritual dialogues with the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh and D T Suzuki His life and career were suddenly cut short at age 53, when he was electrocuted stepping out of his bath.


    1. For a few years, I fostered a very robust fascination with Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk who was a prolific writer. I can’t remember how I found Merton, maybe some long ago professor of mine or a reference in someone else’s book, but since I started reading him almost a decade ago, he has, more than any other writer, influenced my way of seeing the world. He was a pacifist and a political activist, at least in the sense that he spoke out boldly against things he found immoral or unethical - [...]

    2. I have a huge crush on Merton. He is the grace my Abba gave me in the silence. I weep when I read him and sigh, and say, I feel exactly the same wayover and over again. Read him, if you doubt, if you wonder, if you wander, if you think about your faith.

    3. Ok,so, let me say to begin that I think Thomas Merton is a brilliant mind. If there were a dozen more Mertons in the world, I'm convinced there would be peace on earth.That being said, Brother Tom plunges into a book in which he attempts to lay the groundwork, or to set the vibe for one's odyssey into contemplation. Tricky thing is that you cannot really describe contemplation. Merton says so himself. The best we can do is to label it "the darkness" and say, well, it's not that, and it's not and [...]

    4. I have some mixed feelings about this book. It reads like one long prayer, which is lovely. Thomas Merton clearly has a very intimate, very passionate relationship with God. And of course, there were some things that were relevant to me, and some that were not. However, sometimes when I was reading, I just felt lost. Like I was missing something. Maybe some of it was just over my head, because I don't have that kind of relationship with God. I partly wish that Merton would have used simpler lang [...]

    5. I began reading this book in 1996, completing it perhaps a year later. I was completely captivated! At a time in my life when my soul yearned for some sense of reason beyond my daily encounters - Thomas Merton's New Seeds of Contemplation struck a timely cord. The soul that seeks truth, no doubt will find it. To engage truth becomes one's life time endeavor. New Seeds of Contemplation is not a book that can be read without times of ardent reflection. When the soul is in a place of transitioning [...]

    6. If I could rate this as higher than 5 stars, I would. This is probably the most impacting and thoughtful book I have read (aside from the Bible), and I keep coming back to it over and over again for fresh insight.Thomas Merton was both a contemplative monastic as well as a radical activist. His life of solitude and contemplation did not cause him to turn inward, but called him to look out into the world. He was an advocate of civil rights, a critic of Vietnam and nuclear proliferation, and an au [...]

    7. Glad I read this book, and would pass it along to anyone wondering about prayers and meditation. There were a couple of chapters and some parts of the book I glossed over because I am reluctant to believe it is possible to arrive at perfection as a contemplative. And this book would be a challenge to someone who gets stuck on the male gender assigned to God, but I personally did not find that inhibiting. I consider Merton to be a sage of our time, encouraging us to find God and the will of God i [...]

    8. I acknowledge that Thomas Merton probably had a true connection to God, that he was a holy man who by all accounts walked the walk as well as talked the talk. I also acknowledge that "New Seeds of Contemplation" is an engaging explanation of some of Merton's core ideas, as well as a compelling argument for the spiritual value in leading what Merton terms a "contemplative" life (more exactly, a life in contemplation of God's will and your purpose within that will). However, nothing I've read in a [...]

    9. This is a book to put on your nightstand and read slowly, a few pages at a time. And then take a break to process it, and read again. So much of what Thomas Merton talks about in this book made my heart race, because I recognized it. I hope someday I am able to experience the parts I have not--yes, even the "deserts" and "darkness" he references routinely. His grasp of the human person and resistance to God makes so much clear about the world today, especially attitudes among both self-righteous [...]

    10. I just can't seem to get enough of Thomas Merton, this is a book not to be rushed but savored slowly. Often I found I had to re-read a passage to get the meaning and once I "got it" the lightbulb shone brightly! I wouldn't recommend this book for the new believer because it delves heavily into the inner spiritual life. The concepts and spirituality he discusses might discourage or confuse a new believer in Christ. I am a forever fan of his and I have been slowly building my personal library of h [...]

    11. I am listening to the audiobook version. This book is really an answer to my prayers! It brings such light.One thing that he shows clearly, is how solitude is really much less lonely than to be lost in the crowd. He speaks very beautifully about love, how God is love, and how we must let love shine through us, become transparent. Yet it is not such a sweet soft book that hides darkness. On the contrary, Thomas Merton shows very clearly the distinction between loving acceptance and cowardly ignor [...]

    12. This is among the best and most useful books i have ever read concerning life, prayer, and transformation. Merton understands the dynamics of our humanity through deep reflection and understanding of his own dichotomy. He differentiates between the ego (mask) and the real person and describes how we spend so much time mistaking the ego for the person; building the ego and missing the person. He offers hope through humility and discovery.

    13. New Seeds is more abstract than the author’s other books (i.e Seven Storey Mountain, Sign of Jonah). It is very observant of the human condition and the various states of ennui and incompleteness that we face. Its poetic prose almost speaks directly to the soul in addressing the reasons for one's lack of fulfillment or satisfaction over time. And it is interspersed with topics for deep reflection and practical tips for dealing with obstacles in one's prayer life.

    14. Highlights to me. But I recommend reading all of it. 2 - Poetry, music and art have something in common with the contemplative experience. But contemplation is beyond aesthetic intuition, beyond art, beyond poetry. 8 - Nothing could be more alien to contemplation than the cogito ergo sum of Descartes. "I think, therefore I am." This is the declaration of an alienated being, in exile from his own spiritual depths, compelled to seek some comfort in proof of his own existence(!) based on the observ [...]

    15. In this seminal work, the semimodern sage explores the theme of contemplation while embracing the paradox that nothing definite can be said about contemplation. Sometimes essay, sometimes vignette, sometimes proverb, this deep collection of wisdom provides multiple jumping-off points for personal meditation and explorative understanding of the Divine.I think I was a Merton fan before I ever read him. All throughout this first reading, I found myself asking, "Thomas, have you been reading my diar [...]

    16. Quite often, St. John of the Cross is cited as one of the greatest mystics in the Christian tradition, and I was inclined to agree for many years, until I began reading Seeds of Contemplation, when I was in my first year of spiritual formation in the seminary. Merton transcends the limitations of the medieval mystics' ability to make contemplative spirituality something grittier, more real and raw, especially for those new to the practice. Written when he was still relatively young, it should no [...]

    17. A 20th Century Christian mystic, Thomas Merton is far and away one of my favorite authors. Although I haven't read all his books yet, New Seeds of Contemplation is in my mind his greatest work. Without a doubt a modern spiritual classic.The depth of Merton's spiritual understanding is difficult to grasp. His words are soothing as a pool of cool water. I want to swim in them for hours."Every moment and every event of every man's life on earth plants something in his soul. For just as the wind car [...]

    18. I've been reading this book as part of my morning prayer through Advent and most of Epiphany. It's truly changed my spiritual life. I'm Episcopalian, not Roman Catholic, as Merton was, so a couple of the chapters didn't ring 100% on target for me, but even those I gained a greater appreciation for aspects of my prayer life. Merton is an amazingly precise and lyrical writer in dealing with this topic so difficult to articulate. His writing is very simple, but at the same time very dense. I'd extr [...]

    19. Just the way Merton explains what “contemplation” is and is not and the concept of our outer self and a new self which we need to awaken—notions he hinted at enough in "Seven Storey Mountain"--is enticing enough to make this spiritual manual hard to put down. The chapters are usually less than ten pages and short enough for a concerted uninterrupted focus. I am willing to give it five stars if it wasn’t such hard going through some chapters. He is maybe easier than Chesterton but difficu [...]

    20. Merton wrote this book in 1939 at age 24, the year he was planning to become a Franciscan monk. There is a lot of wandering in the desert: this is not this and that is not this and that is not that. I wanted to count all the "not"s in the book. The book and the search is frankly above/beyond me, but it answered some questions. I found it interesting since the book went through many printings, and created a whole movement of men and women flocking to monasteries in the mid-twentieth century. I di [...]

    21. Parts of it were insufferable. Parts of it were like the best thing I ever read. I think that's just how Catholicism works.It borrows a lot from Cruz's Dark Night of the Soul, but it's not nearly as abnormal.1.If you write only for yourself you can read what you yourself have written and after ten minutes you will be so disgusted you will wish that you were dead.2.Place no hope in assurance, in spiritual comfort. You may well have to get along without this. Place no hope in the inspirational pre [...]

    22. I'm not Catholic, but I was very intrigued and often convinced by Merton's writing of the mystical. This is a theological study on what contemplation is, along with a broader conceptualization of the "cosmic dance," which seemed almost Buddhist to me. But with incarnation. Oh, don't ask me to explain.I particularly liked Merton's view of work and his take on the early chapters of Genesis. His writing also makes me want to disappear into a monastery and get some peace and quiet. Perhaps that's pa [...]

    23. While this isn't a difficult book to read, it is a deep book. It is rich in philosophical insights and simple in form. Towards the end of the book, Merton began to seem so foreign and exotic to my Western Christianity that I had trouble hanging with him as he entered the realm of the mystic. This book is definitely one to come back to after years of spiritual growth and development, but I am glad I read it now because it gives me something to look forward to in the future and it provided much li [...]

    24. This is one of the only books I've read that coherently describes contemplation as an act of life rather than something done cross legged in a room. The great thing about Merton is he wanted prayer to be like breathing. But I also love that he didn't dodge the Catholic Church here and make it a bland book about "spirituality." His ode to Mary is one of the most beautiful things written about the Mother of God.

    25. I believe Thomas Merton to be one of the top spiritual writers of the twentieth century. Much of his writing is a difficult read and over my head, but it's also full of easily understood gems that hit at the core of an intimate relationship with God. I especially enjoyed the second half of the book, highlighting a great deal of it for future meditation. Although not canonized, I consider Merton a saint.

    26. Merton is the perfect remedy for folks who live in their heads (like me). He meets us there but doesn't let us stay. All the conceptual wrestling that can (and sometimes should) take place in the journey of faith finds a context in the mystery and silence that makes up much of one's knowledge of God.

    27. How beautiful and rich. How deeply I desire to accept everything as God's love for me in his will, and join the dance he is ever inviting us into. To see him in everything and everyone and live in the wonder. The middle half of the book was a bit tedious, but the beginning and end chapters make it well worth the read. I'll be contemplating these beautiful ideas for a while.Awaken us, O Lord.

    28. Love all these essays. The ones about solitude especially. Such a great companion book to Walden. For a real trip, read one Thoreau and then one Merton particularly on a day when you have nothing at all to do and no one to see. You'll go places!

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