Inside Out

No Man is an Island

“Everything in modern city life is calculated to keep man from entering into himself and thinking about spiritual things. Even with the best of intentions a spiritual man finds himself exhausted and deadened and debased by the constant noise of machines and loudspeakers, the dead air and the glaring lights of offices and shops, the everlasting suggestion of advertising and propaganda.”

Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island


Remembering Thomas Merton, who was born 100 years ago. After a rambunctious youth and adolescence, Merton converted to Roman Catholicism and entered the Abbey of Gethsemani, a community of monks belonging to the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Trappists), the most ascetic Roman Catholic monastic order. Thomas became an influential American writer, poet, mystic, and social activist. He wrote more than 60 books on a variety of topics that became international best sellers. “No Man is an Island” and his autobiography “The Seven Storey Mountain” are profound and essential spiritual literature.

If Thomas Merton lived today he may have added the emergence of social media and all the personal electronic toys that we use to stay “connected” around the clock. I live in a place with no cell coverage. Until a few weeks ago we had no internet. Once a week I did go the library to reconnect with the world. Not a problem. I found time to observe the subtle changes in color during sunrise, watch the fog rise and descend, spend precious moments with my dogs when they were not working. And I found time to reflect.

Even with the best intentions, as Thomas says, now that the ever present internet has arrived at out remote cabin, I spend more time surfing the virtual world than before. Thank you for reminding me, there is a natural world out there that deserves my attention.

On the Road


Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

John Lennon, who else?

temple of the moon, cathedral valley, UT

temple of the moon, cathedral valley, utah

To me it becomes unbearable to read or watch the news lately. It seems the world is going fugazi. Senseless killing in the name of religion, mindless blurbs of “celebrities”, sprinkled with never-ending sports news…

I have been living and working in remote places for a couple of years now with limited access to news (and people). In those places I can imagine living in peace. This may not be the world John Lennon envisioned in his lyrics.

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” Maybe that’s the problem. Some people never understand life. There is no dress-rehearsal. This is it. Our choice.

Love, peace, and happiness.