Thomas Merton (1915 – 1968) – “The Seven Story Mountain”, An Autobiography of Faith, A Harvest Book, Fiftieth Anniversary Edition, 1948, 1999


Ochun is syncretized with la Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre, who is the Patroness of Cuba.  On September 8,  Cubans show their devotion to Ochún by dressing in yellow, putting sunflowers and special treats like honey and pumpkins on her altar, lighting candles and, if possible, holding a tambor (drumming ceremony) or violín (classical music played by a solo violin or a small string orchestra) in her honor.  One reason Ochun and La Caridad del Cobre were syncretized in Cuba is that both are traditionally represented as women of mixed race, thereby thought to symbolize the Cuban people.  

During the1980s or so, I have read Merton’s “No Man is an Island”, and I got no idea about who he was. I loved that book, but I never tried to know anything else about him and / or about his work during the last 40 years.

It has been recently, when we resumed our regular sessions on meditation, that I started the timing of the sessions and I got into an app, where you can contact several meditation sessions, being Thomas Merton’s one of them. I started to read comments from other people meditating anywhere in the world and I found interesting that he was an important symbol within this tradition.

The Seven Storey Mountain has been interesting, in order to see which was his years of life and how he converted into Catholicism and decided to become a priest, at the end of 1939.

It was good to read about his family life, the relations with his dad (artist) and with his grandparents. His many types of “travels”: to London, to the USA, to Cuba, but also about his political incursions into communism and into the lack of any belief too. This writing is a masterpiece on how it describes his becoming a priest.

I loved the chapter about his visit to Cuba (before the Revolution) and how he looks for the Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre (black virgin) and the poem that he writes about girls:

“The white girls lift their heads like trees, The black girls go   Reflected like flamingoes in the street.   The white girls sing as shrill as water,  The black girls talk as quiet as clay. The white girls open their arms like clouds, The black girls close their eyes like wings: Angels bow down like bells,  Angels look up like toys, Because the heavenly stars  Stand in a ring:  And all the pieces of the mosaic, earth,  Get up and flyaway like birds.”

The last half of the book is outstanding. I loved the way he combines his conversation with Christ, with the daily chores. The contrast that he establishes between contemplation and action in the normal daily life of anyone anywhere, keeping priority properly.

Here ends the book, but not the quest.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s