The Trivialization of Life

The trivialization of life is perhaps the strongest anti-mystical force among us. Some people are literally obsessed by the compulsion to trivialize everything.

. . . For mystical consciousness, it is essential that everything internal become external and be made visible. A dream wants to be told, the “inner light” wants to shine, the vision has to be shared.

. . . We cut ourselves off from our own experiences by looking upon them as irrelevant and not worth talking about or, what is no less cynical, not communicable at all. We are losing dreams, those of the night and those of the day, and increasingly we lose the visions of our life.

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a mystic and a man who fought in the resistance against the Vietnam War. He said that “if you want to know me, don’t ask where I live, what I like to eat, how I part my hair; rather, ask me what I live for, in every detail, and ask me what in my view prevents me from living fully for the thing I really want to live for.”

– Dorothee Soelle, in The Silent Cry: Mysticism And Resistance (translated by Barbara and Martin Rumscheidt)


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  1. So lovely. This makes me consider how I have stopped sharing my dreams with my kids, how I have stopped sharing my faith, and how being a contemplative has in some ways, encouraged me to withdraw a little as I release people to their own journeys and keep mine a little more private…..interesting…some things to ponder for sure.