Explain the contribution of Thomas Merton to mysticism

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Explain the contribution of Thomas Merton to mysticism

Mysticism is an aspect of religious experience that is little understood. This term has been used to describe experiences that reveal spiritual recognition of truths beyond normal understanding, from the mildly ecstatic to the occult. It has been said that there are certain features which accompany such experiences which enable their recognition, such as a sense of freedom from the limitations of time, space and the human ego. Believers may also experience a sense of “oneness” or unity with God, accompanied with bliss and serenity. Mysticism is seen as the closest a human being can ever come to actually meeting God in this life. Mystical experiences can also be classified into two areas: extrovertive, where one experiences unity in the world through the physical senses and introvertive, where the person loses their identity as a separate individual and slowly merges into the divine unity. A key mystic is Thomas Merton. In examining his contribution to religious experience, a good place to start is considering his writings.
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Merton’s writings are key to understanding his contribution of mysticism. He was an incredibly prolific author, he wrote over sixty other books and hundreds of poems and articles on topics ranging from monastic spirituality to civil rights, nonviolence, and the nuclear arms race. His three most famous publications are The Seven Storey Mountain, The Ascent to Truth and Contemplative Prayer.

Starting with The Seven Storey Mountain, this is his autobiography from his childhood up until he became a monk. It gives us many details about Merton’s background. Merton was born in France. After a rambunctious youth and ...

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