If there is no silence beyond and within the words of doctrine, there
is no religion, only religious ideology. For religion goes beyond
words and actions, and attains to the ultimate truth in silence. When
this silence is lacking, where there are only the "many words" and
not the One Word, then there is much bustle and activity, but no
peace, no deep thought, no understanding, no inner quiet. Where
there is no peace, there is no light. The mind that is hyper-active
seems to itself to be awake and productive, but it is dreaming. Only
in silence and solitude, in the quiet of worship, the reverent peace of
prayer, the adoration in which the entire ego-self silences and abases
itself in the presence of the Invisible God, only in these "activities"
which are "non-actions" does the spirit truly awake from the dream
of a multifarious and confused existence.
-- Thomas Merton
Honorable Reader: Reflections on My Work
(a collection of introductions Merton wrote for
editions of his work published in other languages)
edited by Robert E. Daggy
New York: Crossroad, 1989; p 115
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