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Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Merton’s writings’


“Your idea of me is fabricated with materials  you have borrowed from other people and from yourself.  What you think of me depends on what you think of yourself.  Perhaps you create your idea of me out of material that you would like to eliminate from your own idea of yourself.  Perhaps your idea of me is a reflection of what other people think of you.  Or perhaps what you think of me is simply what you think I think of you”.   Thomas Merton

It was written on the first page of my tattered journal (tattered now anyway since I had it like  more than forty years ago).  I love quoting Thomas Merton. I used to devour his writings when I was still a student librarian at the University of Santo Tomas Main Library.   I wonder where I could buy copies of some of his books.  Two of his books are still on my wish list until now.

In the Dark Before Dawn

The Seven Storey Mountain

Some years ago, a friend gave me a copy of Merton’s Thoughts in  Solitude along with the pretty volume of Breakfast at Tiffany’s  by Truman Capote. They are two of the books I treasure.

 

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I could still remember the very first time I kept a journal –  it was almost 38 years ago. It was a pink, ordinary notebook but on the cover was written Journal in black letters. I still have it until now, all tattered at the edges and the cover is already detached from the spine.  And I wrote these quotes on the first page.

“Your idea of me is fabricated with materials you have borrowed from other people and from yourself. What you think of me depends on what you think of yourself. Perhaps you create your idea of me out of material you would like to eliminate from your own idea of yourself. Perhaps your idea of me is a reflection of what other people think of you. Or perhaps what you think of me is simply what you think I think of you.

These are quotes from Thomas Merton, one of my favorite authors when I was in college. I think it was from the book No Man Is An Island. I am  lucky to have one of his books, Thoughts on Solitude which I received on my birthday together  with nine more books that I have on my wish list.

I digress. That was the start of my love affair with pen and paper.  Back then, snail mail was something to be treasured and writing your thoughts daily was some kind of magic, the magic of stringing words into something  worth-keeping and worth re-reading. The fascination of keeping one never waned all these years and collecting journals became an obsession. I must admit though that I now prefer writing my thoughts through a blog, an easier way  but it has become public.  For the past three years, my daughter has gifted me with those lovely journals from Bank of the Philippine Islands where she works  with pictures of artworks/paintings  in their own collection by world-renowned Filipino artists. Some close friends who know  of my fascination for collecting journals gifted me with some.

You see, I have this ambitious dream of writing (by hand) all the entries I posted here at WordPress, all 1,072 of them and that’s just for Dreams and Escapes. I still have two more blogs that I don’t often update.

There is something nice about writing with pen. Just feel the smooth touch of pen to the pristine pages. It’s more personal and more appealing to one’s eyes and senses. Do you agree?

I remember those years when I used to buy scented pens  and what dreams I have shared  in all those notebooks. I use them now for my reflections and short prayers at our Catholic page and for some quotes that I find worth sharing.

This afternoon, I went to National Bookstore to buy plastic covers for my new books and look what I found, two lovely boxes which I could use for my arts and crafts projects or  maybe  for those stationeries, ribbons and greeting cards that I keep  all year round.

I keep old letters in shoeboxes covered with gift wraps at the sides but these look more sturdy to use and they are more spacious.  I simply can’t resist  these colorful rose designs 🙂

A few years ago,  I found this lovely rattan box in one of my forays at Dapitan Arcade. How I wish I bought more. It is so handy as an organizer for my journals.

October is about to end and I am looking forward to another lovely month of fulfilled dreams and surprises. Happy All SaintsDay everyone!

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It is still a lost cause for me finding even just one book by Thomas Merton. My friend Grace suggested that I go to the UST Library but I told her that I want to have a copy of my own. His most famous works like The Seven Storey Mountain, No Man is an Island, Thoughts in Solitude and some of his famous selected poems are still in my Wish list until now.I was arranging some of my old collections of quotations and my college journal when I found this inserted in one of my notebooks, writings of Thomas Merton which I have typed some thirty years ago. I cannot remember now which one of his works I got this from but I want to share it with you.

Thomas Merton is a Trappist monk and is one of the most influential Catholic authors of the 20th century.

SINCERITY (Thomas Merton)

We make ourselves real by telling the truth. We cannot know truth unless we ourselves are conformed to it. We must be true inside, true to ourselves, before we can know that which is outside us. But we make ourselves true inside by manifesting the truth as we see it.

Sincerity in the fullest sense must be more than a temperamental disposition to be frank. It is simplicity of spirit which is preserved by the will to be true. Sincerity in the fullest sense is a divine gift, a clarity of spirit which comes only with grace. the sincere man therefore, is one who has the grace to know that he may be instinctively insincere, and that even his natural sincerity may become a camouflage for irresponsibility and moral cowardice; as if it were enough to recognize the truth, and do nothing about it.

Your idea of me is fabricated with materials you have borrowed from other people and from yourself. What you think of me depends on what you think of yourself. Perhaps you create your idea of me out of material that you would like to eliminate from your own idea of yourself. Perhaps your idea of me is a reflection of what other people think of you. Or perhaps what you think of me is simply what you think I think of you.

It takes more courage than we imagine to be perfectly simple with other men. Our frankness is often spoiled by a hidden barbarity, born of fear.

In the end, the problem of sincerity is a problem of love. A sincere man is not so much one who sees the truth and manifests it as he sees it, but one who loves the truth with a pure love. But truth is more than an abstraction. It lives and is embodied in men and things that are real. And the secret of sincerity is, therefore not to be sought in a philosophical love for abstract truth but in a love for real people and real things – a love for God apprehended in the reality around us.

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