Solition | Endings | Merton

Just spent the weekend with Si and Gareth over in Northern Ireland. Good to see Pete Rollins too (his book is going to go ballistic). They also had the guys over from The Bridge in Ventura for a few days, and it was excellent to spend time hanging out, doing some Guinness, and doing the Celtic Solition day on the Saturday. It was a great time, but hung with sadness as we heard of the death of someone from The Bridge. It’s been a painful year for them.

End-2 22 Text

Some of the conversations turned to why we had stopped Vaux, and it’s still something I/we think about a lot. I might do some posts of reflections about this over the next few weeks, but talking got me thinking, and my thoughts turned to this passage from Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation.

“All sin starts from the assumption that my false self, the self that exists only in my egocentric desires, is the fundamental reality of life to which everything else in the universe is ordered…. I wind experiences around myself and cover myself with pleasures and glory like bandages in order to make myself perceptible to myself and to the world, as if I were an invisible body that could become visible when something visible covered its surface. But there is no substance under the things with which I am clothed. I am objectified in them. When they are gone there will be nothing left of me but my own nakedness and emptiness and hollowness, to tell me that I am my own mistake.”

I think in a funny way we at Vaux had grown worried about the false self that we were projecting. We’d wound a lot of bandages, and it was time for a bit of naked truth. This is, for Merton, the essence of contemplation. To put down the fantasy self and “pass through the centre of our own nothingness […] and awake as our true selves.” “We become contemplatives when God discovers Godself in us.”

I’m glad we left the building. The stones were heavy. Perhaps you’ll find us in a tent somewhere, someday.

Technorati Tags: , , ,


4 responses to “Solition | Endings | Merton”

  1. Dana Ames

    The consensus of the book group is, “This is a great book!” It has sparked lots of good discussion threads during our Friday meetings.
    I’ve had questions about what Vaux was, why it started and why it ended, and I’ve tried to give a rough flavor of it- but I’m not sure I can adequately explain it, particularly the part about why it ended. I’m looking forward to your comments.
    -or you can think out loud in an e-mail in my general direction…

  2. And I think a sense of that nomadic nakedness and a cognition of my projected self was somehow better formed in me as we chatted about Vaux and the organizational life cycle. Really enjoyed our conversations, and they couldn’t have come at a better time as Greg, Clint, Dave and I now find ourselves back in Ventura redeveloping how our community will share life together. I’d love to pick up that book from the 60s you referenced… drop me a line with the title when you get a moment. (and I also just ordered “wall & piece”, by the way.)
    Anyways, had a great time–thanks for the love. May see you in London in August…

  3. Hey Jared – really good to spend some time together. And looking forward to coming over when I can! Be great to have you over in August…
    The book is ‘The Neophiliacs’ by Christopher Booker. Enjoy.

  4. thanks man. Looking forward to it.
    And if you ever do make it out here, I’ve got a spare bedroom with your name on it. Really. It says “Kester” on it. It’s crazy.