Thomas Merton

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List of Mystics

Mystics > Agehananda Bharati, Alan Watts, Bernard of Clairvaux, Emanuel Swedenborg, Howard Thurman, Ibn al-'Arabi, Julian of Norwich, Maria Sabina, Martin Prechtel, Michael Harner, Oscar Ichazo, Romain Rolland, Shihäb al-Din al-Suhrawardi, Thomas Merton


The monastic life prepared Merton, paradoxically, to accept the world by taking him from it and by allowing him to see that his problems were not caused by the world but by his own heart. There is a pattern in Merton's life. Before major decisions, he undergoes a profound mystical experience which assures him that he is not wrong and that God is with him. Thus. he turns to the spiritual life when he encounters a vision of his deceased father: he becomes a monk after a sense of God's presence at a liturgy in Havana: he accepts his calling to be engaged with the world and to struggle for social justice in it after an experience in Louisville. On a crowded street corner he is thrown into waves of emotional turmoil and tranquillity as he sees the crowds of people around him as good and valuable in their own humanity, in their own right, without reference to Church or monastery. In Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, he describes the moment in which he cries out in his own soul: "Thank God, thank God that I am like other men." He sees separation from the world as an illusion and is convinced that people are filled with light. "shining like the sun. "[1]


  1. Padovana, Anthony. “The Eight Conversions of Thomas Merton,” n.d.