Main CategoriesMeditation and PrayerWestern Prayer and Contemplation Merton's Palace of Nowhere (40th Anniversary Edition)


Merton's Palace of Nowhere (40th Anniversary Edition)

Product no.: 978-0877930419
For forty years, James Finley’s Merton's Palace of Nowhere has been the standard text for exploring, reflecting on, and understanding the rich vein of Thomas Merton's thought.

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Publisher's Synopsis
Spiritual identity is the quest to know who we are, to find meaning, to overcome that sense of "Is this all there is?" Merton’s message cuts to the heart of this universal quest, and Finley illuminates that message as no one else can.

As a young man of eighteen, Finley left home for an unlikely destination: the Abbey of Gethsemani, where Thomas Merton lived as a contemplative. Finley stayed at the monastery for six maturing years and later wrote this Merton’s Palace of Nowhere in order to share a taste of what he had learned on his spiritual journey under the guidance of one of the great religious figures of our time. At the heart of the quest for spiritual identity are Merton's illuminating insights—leading from an awareness of the false and illusory self to a realization of the true self.

Dog-eared, tattered, underlined copies of this book are found on the bookshelves of retreat centers, parish libraries, and the homes of spiritual seekers everywhere. This anniversary edition brings a classic to a new generation and includes a new preface by Finley.

"This now-classic text celebrates its fortieth anniversary of publication on the fiftieth anniversary of Thomas Merton's death. In the intervening years, James Finley's poetic and insightful exploration of the true self and Merton’s many contributions to the spiritual life has proven an invaluable resource and guidebook. With this new edition, more readers will have the opportunity to accompany Merton’s former novice in learning to see themselves, the world, and God with renewed vision."      ~Daniel P. Horan, O.F.M.

"One of Finley's most important contributions to the understanding of Merton's values and visions is his treatment of the complex subject of the false self. For this monk, sin is not essentially an action but rather an identity. The false self is a capitulation to our egocentric desires to have it our way. Merton, like many Buddhist sages, was wise enough to see that the false self has no qualms about even making spiritual practice into a selfish and self-centered project. In his book Mystics and Zen Masters, he shares this teaching story:

A master saw a disciple who was very zealous in meditation. 

The master said: 'Virtuous one, what is your aim in practicing Zazen (meditation)?'

The disciple said: 'My aim is to become a Buddha.'

Then the master picked up a tile and began polishing it on a stone in front of the hermitage. 

The disciple said: 'What is the Master doing?'

The master said: 'I am polishing this tile to make it a mirror.'

The disciple said: 'How can you make a mirror by polishing a tile?' 

The master replied: 'How can you make a Buddha by practicing Zazen?'

Far too often, we miss the mark by putting self above everything else. Finley further comments: 'We can get a spiritual hernia from polishing bricks. God's fire never leaps forth from our rubbing thought against thought.'

Throughout this book, the author emphasizes that Merton's understanding of human nature held that we are both nothing and everything at the same time. He wrote: 'We cannot arrive at the perfect possession of God in this life, and that is why we are travelling and in darkness. But we already possess Him by grace, and therefore in that sense we have arrived and are dwelling in the light.' Holding this paradox lightly, we walk the contemplative path of personal renewal. Merton's Palace of Nowhere by James Finley is an essential volume for the spiritual seeker's library."       ~Spirituality & Practice

"This one door is the door of the Palace of Nowhere. It is the door of God. It is our very self, our true self called by God to perfect union with himself. And it is through this door we secretly enter in responding to the saving call to Come with me to the Palace of Nowhere where all the many things are one."

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a Trappist monk, writer, and peace and civil rights activist. Merton's works have had a profound impact on contemporary religious and philosophical thought. He is best known for his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain and New Seeds of Contemplation.

Author Finley, James
Coauthor Merton, Thomas
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 160 pp.
Publisher Ave Maria Press 2018
Browse these categories as well: Western Prayer and Contemplation, Mystic and Esoteric Christianity, The Church: Doctors, Saints and Mystics, Spiritual Biography and Autobiography, Noteworthy Releases 2018

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