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Thoughts in Solitude (Shambhala Pocket Classics)
ISBN 087773920X / 9780877739203 / 0-87773-920-X
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The renowned Trappist monk Thomas Merton wrote Thoughts in Solitude in 1953 and 1954, when his superiors allowed him extended periods of seclusion and meditation. This elegant gift book, with clean, spare type and graphics, does justice to a 20th-classic (this is its 25th printing). What has made this book such an enduring and popular work is that it recognizes how important solitude is to our morality, integrity, and ability to love. One does not have to be a monk to find solitude, notes Merton; solitude can be found in the act of contemplation and silent reflection in everyday life. Also, this is not a pious book that assumes that a relationship with the divine can be obtained only by denying our humanity and striving for saintliness. Instead, Merton asserts that connection with God can most easily be made through "respect for temperament, character, and emotion and for everything that makes us human." --Gail Hudson [via]