In the twentieth century, Thomas Merton, one of Christianity's great mystics, encountered the ancient Eastern mystical tradition known as Sufism. The result was an outpouring of mystical insight and spiritual wisdom.
In these talks, you will discover what first electrified Merton. The Sufi mystics have given us one of the world's most read poets, Rumi, the beautiful mystical dance of whirling dervishes, interreligious insight, and new forms of contemplation. A visionary who sought to synthesize the best of Eastern and Western spiritualities, Thomas Merton's profound interest in the Sufi mystics is more relevant today than ever.
Merton explores the contemplative wisdom of Sufism to enhance our Christian understanding of mysticism and spiritual practice. In one of his talks to the novices at Gethsemani, he said, "The Sufis are seeking to know God and have ways of seeking to know God, and this should have some success with us. . . . We should be closer to the Sufis."
In these talks, you will watch the development of Merton's spirituality as he moved towards a greater understanding of interreligious dialogue. Merton believed that the Sufis had much to teach us about prayer, mysticism, and contemplation.
Merton will bring you to new and exciting places as he reflects on Sufism and the mystical life. What Merton taught in the mid-twentieth century is prophetic for spiritual seekers in the contemporary world.
*Photograph of Thomas Merton by Sybille Akers. Used with Permission of the Merton Legacy Trust and the Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University.