Merton: a ‘mystical experience.’

In 1966, Merton wrote about a ‘mystical experience’ in a Louisville, Ky., shopping district, commonly known as the 4th & Walnut experience. Merton famously wrote:

“I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a world of renunciation and supposed holiness.”

In 1966, Thomas Merton wrote about his fear that “a loss of respect for being and man” and the divinity of both would lead to a devaluation of human life and the destruction of the environment. Think about the cause/effect of that devaluation we experience today. Do we really care for other humans as we care about ourselves and our families? Do we not reflect on the cause/effect of universes?

Think about the collaboration between us, the universe, and God; what are we missing? And why is what you discover missing …missing?

The early followers of Jesus had a sense of apocalypse in their lives and world. In Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, Merton talks about finality and how Christians address that finality. The question is, have we lost that sense of apocalypse in our time? Do we understand the meaning of life, our purpose in life, and our role as humans with other humans?

Are we today able to recognize “mystical experiences” as they occur in our lives? There is a connection between those experiences and our understanding of who we are as humans and why we even exist.

Think about what Merton wrote In 1966 about his a mystical experience at 4th & Walnut.

Be open and aware of your mystical experiences often; they are subtle.

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