Recently, Thomas Merton was mentioned in a book I was reading. He was a Trappist monk of some renowned in the last century. Known as a great mystic, he encouraged a much deeper understanding of spirituality through his writings.
Though a Catholic monk, a great part of his emphasis had to do with studying and understanding eastern spirituality, and in particular, Zen Buddhism. He also was known for his social activism.
Much more could be said about this profound being.
A memory regarding Thomas Merton arose upon encountering him by way of my reading. It was many years ago, probably in the early 80’s. I was temporarily staying at my mother’s in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Why I happened to be residing there at the time me, I don’t recall. Probably, it was before I went to India after living in an ashram for the better part of the recent year.
One evening, the local PBS Station was showing a documentary about Thomas Merton. Of course, this caught my attention and I found myself watching it with great interest.
Toward the end, they showed the last photo taken of him in this life, a smiling and lovely one. Immersed in watching this program, suddenly I experienced a bolt of Shakti (spiritual energy) which shot out of his photo to enter me.
As there was absolutely no expectation of such an occurrence, I was surprised. But then not. This experience was a prasad (gift) and blessing that naturally happens when in the presence of such an illuminated one.
Thank you, Thomas Merton, for your spiritual attainment that has become a blessing to a great many others. Thank you for the life you lived.
December 16, 2022