The Inner Experience by Thomas Merton

The Inner Experience

Now in paperback, revised and redesigned: This is Thomas Merton's last book, in which he draws on both Eastern and Western traditions to explore the hot topic of contemplation/meditation in depth and to show how we can practice true contemplation in everyday life. Never before published except as a series of articles (one per chapter) in an academic journal, this book on contemplation was revised by Merton shortly before his untimely death. The m...

Details The Inner Experience

TitleThe Inner Experience
Release DateMay 25th, 2004
GenreSpirituality, Religion, Christian, Nonfiction

Reviews The Inner Experience

  • Larry Hansen
    If you are interested in the contemplative life this book will inspire you and may even intimidate you.Merton, as always, gives great insights and observations. There are times when he seems to be at the limits of acceptable church theology and I think he would do better to ignore those restrictions. Whether he is restrained by the censors or honoring his own church vows, I'm not sure, but I think one can live a fully contemplative life outside t...
  • Nancy Bevilaqua
    Until recently, I knew almost nothing of Thomas Merton other than that he'd been a Christian monk with a strong interest in Buddhism and "Eastern religions," and that he'd died as the result of an accidental electrocution in Thailand. Now I know a little more, and I'm developing a great deal of respect for the man's mind, his learnedness, and his openness to other cultures and non-Christian ways of approaching spirituality, even as he lived in re...
  • dely
    Ieri sono andata a un incontro interreligioso in cui si parlava di Thomas Merton e di Swami Vivekananda. Il dialogo è iniziato dalla lettura di alcuni brani tratti dai libri di questi due monaci per conoscere le loro vite e il loro credo; si è discusso anche dei punti in comune che hanno i ricercatori della Verità indipendentemente dalla religione di appartenenza e della vita monastica che non deve essere soltanto fine a se stessa, ma deve aiu...
  • Heidi
    I enjoyed this book but I found it also to be very challenging. Since I was not raised in the church and have not yet read the Bible, I had a hard time understanding some of the esoteric language and ideas regarding Christian faith. What I found interesting, however, is how similar Christian contemplation is to Eastern, specifically Buddhist, meditation and study. I like reading authors like Merton because they go beyond a common or mainstream un...
  • Luis Alexandre Ribeiro Branco
    Quite nice!
  • DJ Dycus
    A very insightful book about Christian spirituality. Interesting, challenging. Unlike some of his other books on meditation, this one is a little more practical.
  • The
    The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation by Thomas Merton.Some of the pearls found in this work of Merton written just before he left for Asia where he died. The best estimation of when that was seems to be sometime in September 1959. One of the strange laws of the contemplative life is that in it you do not sit down and solve problems: you bear with them until they somehow solve themselves. Pg.2 The contemplative life is primarily a life of ...
  • Jb
    This book was a challenge for me - my only Merton book. At the end though, among the things which I will take with me is this: "The contemplative does not set out to achieve a kind of intuitive mastery of history, or of man's spirit, or of the things of God. He seeks the center of his own living truth, and there all these other mysteries is granted to him at the moment when he needs it. If he needs nothing, nothing is granted. ... All that he nee...
  • Carolyn
    It is maddening to think these words of wisdom couldn't have been around 40 years ago! Although it is obvious Thomas Merton was disappointed in this "not as yet a book" but every nugget has relevance for all people aware of the spiritual presence and its sustaining quality whether you are Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, or even an Agnostic. We need assurance that our exterior lives are not the answer for complete peace and comfort, once we explore t...
  • Cory Trenda
    Good start but seemed to be speaking beyond his authorityThe foreword says this gives a glimpse of Merton’s evolving thought in the middle of his life. Interesting for scholars perhaps.
  • Arthur
    Mature Merton—my lifetime mentor. Important reflection of his growth and insight. The last chapter is essential Merton.
  • Claudia
    Seems real good. Still working on it.
  • Patrick
    I lost this book in a move and then found it. I'm glad I did because it's brilliant. At times his insight is startling and precise.
  • Lon
    Disappointing. Maybe I found the latinate jargon of academia off-putting (ontological this, epistemological that), and had hoped for something more avuncula, but reading this was more like wading through a very rough draft of a Master's thesis.There were gems though. For example, the following passage on how sin can be an obstacle to spiritual liberation:"It is not merely a sense of guilt referred to the authority of God. It is a sense of evil in...
  • Andrew Marr
    It is a standing joke in monastic circles that Thomas Merton has written many more books since he died than during his life. That speaks volumes (literally) for the papers and letters left behind. In 1959, Thomas Merton began a thorough revision of a much earlier work on contemplative prayer. Towards the end of his life he tinkered with it a little more. Not having arrived at a final form with this book before his sudden death. it was punished ma...
  • EunSung
    This is the first full comprehensive book I've read on contemplation by Thomas Merton. He ties the Christian contemplative experience with other traditions especially within in Zen Buddhism, but lays out the differences also. I especially enjoy his section about the problems of contemplative life for monastics and lay people. I'll let his own words speak for themselves with a quote:Before there can be any external freedom, man[woman:] must learn ...
  • Hank Fay
    Merton delayed (30 years) publishing the manuscript that Shannon has (I think helpfully) rearranged.He published it literally on his way out of the country, on his (fateful) Asian trip.It's easy to determine why he would have waited; and why he would have done so on the way out of the country: it puts religious dogma in its rightful place -- the same place that now-Pope Francis puts it. That rightful place happens to be the dustbin of history. He...
  • Heidi
    Well, I'm in the process of typing out swathes of the text that I want to have on hand to keep contemplating (no pun intended) once the book goes back to the library. I've also decided that I need to, at minimum, read more Merton, The Cloud of Unknowing and some of the work of St John of the Cross in the not-too-distant future.So those two things are both positives.At times this book went over my head. But at other times it hit me right in the gu...
  • Elaine
    I would recommend reading one or two lighter books on contemplation and possibly some other of Thomas Merton before reading this. I believe this was the last of his writing before his death and this is heavily edited by him. Obviously he struggled with putting his thoughts on contemplation so that those non-monks of us could understand. Thoses of us who seek contemplation may find his describing the contemplation that just happens because we stri...
  • Grete Howland
    Not Merton's best published work, but then it wasn't finished and published before his death, so that makes sense. Some things he said I found quite helpful and profound (like how contemplative practice is meant to be a foundation for life instead of a rejection of it) but then others I personally and strongly disagree with (such as humans' inherent sinfulness). It was interesting enough; I'm glad I read it.
  • Karen
    Very helpful
  • Kent Robinson
    A truly insightful book on Christian Spirituality and the contemplative life. I really like how Merton compared and contrasted Christian Spirituality with eastern spirituality, like Zen Buddhism.
  • Patti Clement
    I never tire reading anything Merton!
  • Gunner
    ahhhhhhhh, it's a little too much. I started reading but I'm not ready for it yet.....
  • WR
    This book opens the door to the life that we all desire. In this book, you will find the peace, joy, and contentment that you have been looking for your whole life.
  • Gunner Guidry
    whew! tough book. Need a lot of coffee to read this one......
  • Gordclements
    One of the best books about meditation wether you are Buddhist Christian or not.
  • Oscar
    Exploring a new way of thinking...