A Little Bit of Merton

‘I will not break faith with my awakened heart’.

This little nugget comes from somewhere in the writings of Thomas Merton. I heard it in a podcast as I was walking my regular route in Paris yesterday. I stopped walking, letting the intent of his words drop deeply into my being. As I often get tossed around by the circumstances of life, I resonated with his desire to remain true to what he knows, not intellectually but experientially, despite the challenges. So today I begin my reflection.

First, what does my awakened heart know? What ‘knowing’ do I hold, not what I’ve read or heard, but what is true in my heart? Last night I could feel this question tumbling around. I’ll see what I can catch this morning. This heart of mine has seen a spiritual image both at my bedside and as light in a theatre, has heard a voice with unexpected words and has known truth impressed within. This awakened heart knows that LOVE is at the source of all, that this LOVE dwells within all people and gives all matter life, and that in the end LOVE will be here for it is the universe’s trump card. This awakened heart knows that opening to God is the purpose of life, all of the struggles and joys down here are the classroom for learning soul lessons, so we’re open to God. This heart of mine recognizes that most people walking the planet don’t see the world this way…..yet. Most people around me are caught in the whirlwind of surviving or thriving in the turmoil of what ‘life’ has thrown at them. My awakened heart knows life as a classroom and in it, I’m a life-long learner.

I know there is more my heart knows, but I want to pause to consider the first part of his walk-stopping thought. ‘I will not break faith’. He’s crying out a desire to live from his True Self, his deepest purest part, to be his best self, yet he knows the struggle too. His will is needed. He needs to make a choice, not once, not a confession moment in church or a moment of emotional surrender, but a moment-by-moment choice over breakfast, on the subway, around the family table, in the grocery store, at the computer screen, working at a meeting, watching TV, hanging out with friends……moment by moment in the classroom, of the School of Life. Merton lived with an awareness of the life-shaping component of each moment of our lives. And he knows the struggle to remain true to what he knew.

I know that struggle too. I think that’s why his vulnerable acknowledgement and desire for truth resonated with me. I… will…not…break faith…with my awakened heart. I will remain true to who I am today wherever I’m taken in the classroom of life. I will be myself, my Mystic in Motion self, wherever Life takes me. That doesn’t mean that I speak of what my heart knows, but that I live from the heart qualities so kindness, tenderness and compassion flow through me to those I meet. My awakened heart is a divine gift, but remaining open, and nurturing it is my choice, my ‘yes’ to growing spiritual energy.

Sometimes it feels like people around me want to put a gag on me, push back and don’t want me to be myself. Recalling, ‘I will not break faith with my awakened heart’, encourages me to be rock solid with them, often not in words, but in personal energy. Sometimes words might be said, but most often it’s a shift within where I let the restraint or rejection wash around me. Rock Solid in the tumultuous river. They don’t know what they are doing to me. They don’t know how their words are affecting me. Perhaps later there will be time to connect with them more deeply, but in the moment, I’m not to break faith with my awakened heart. I am to stay within the flow of compassion.

Still mulling over this one….. et vous?

Love and prayers


Mystic in Motion

Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire

Companion on the Rivendell Way

Society Member of Shalem Institute for Contemplative Living

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