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Thoughts in Solitude

4.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,376 Ratings  ·  79 Reviews
In thirty-seven concise and beautifully written chapters, Thomas Merton explores the meaning of interior solitude and its necessary role in bringing every life to joyous fruition. "What is said here about solitude is not just a recipe for hermits," he writes in the preface, "it has a bearing on the whole future of man and his world."
Paperback, Abridged, 144 pages
Published May 11th 1993 by Shambhala (first published 1956)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Katie Dreyer
Feb 28, 2015 Katie Dreyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We live in a society that does not value solitude. Being alone is a frightening thought for most. If we cannot be with our friends, we turn on our TVs or our music stations. We text our friends or browse the internet. We quite literally cannot bear to be alone. This is a world that no longer understands silence. We have phones that are constantly buzzing and ringing. Music blares from our radios, from our computers, from our cars. We live in bustling cities filled with constant noise. Being cons ...more
Jen
Feb 01, 2015 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great thoughts on spiritual formation and deepening our love in Christ through prayer and meditation. Lots of highlighting involved in reading this book... there is a lot to chew on and many pages dogeared for future reference.
Colby
Feb 25, 2013 Colby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredible. Merton is able to put into words...things that I didn't know had words.
But at the same time, he is kind of confusing. Because I'm not a Catholic monk, mostly.

Still:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


"Before we can surrender ourselves we must become ourselves. For no one can give up what he does not possess." p.29

"Why should I want to be rich, when You were poor? Why should I desire to be famous and powerful in the eyes of men, when the sons of those who exalted the false prophets and stones the true -
...more
Marguerite
Apr 28, 2008 Marguerite rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gotta-have-faith
My copy of this is very coffee-stained. I enjoyed Merton's thoughts on interior life and the human need for reflection. And, I found the short chapters conducive to daily reflection and prayer. But before I'd made it to the halfway point of this book, I was already alienated by Merton's male-only pronouns. I understand he was a product of his day, and I think Merton served as novice master at the monastery for a while and was accustomed to addressing young men. Nonetheless, being beaten over the ...more
Amy Neftzger
As a fan of writers such a Augustine, Aquinas, and Thomas a Kempis, I'm very familiar with the writings of monks. I've benefited from the timeless wisdom and though provoking writings of all these authors. However, this was the first book I've read by Merton.

I really enjoyed this short book. Merton writes beautifully and from a philosophical as well as practical perspective. He defines solitude (which can be found either amid groups of people or when we're alone), the benefits of it, and explain
...more
Pinkyivan
Oct 18, 2015 Pinkyivan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I feel like going on a christposting spree now.
Drew
Sep 25, 2015 Drew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite good. I've not read nearly enough Merton, and this was excellent. Worth the price of admission for the famous "Merton Prayer" alone. Reminiscent of Henri Nouwen.
Ashley
wow. This completely exceeded my expectations. There were a few sections that I found difficult to relate to, but the vast majority of the book blew me away. I will doubtlessly be returning to Thoughts In Solitude again and again.

A word in season. I greatly look forward to checking out some of Merton's other works!
Matt Mcmanus
Jun 20, 2016 Matt Mcmanus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
There is much to learn from in this short book and I know I've only scratched the surface. In a world of smartphones, Netflix, social media and everything else, I'm grateful for any clear headed thoughts that point me towards silence and contentment, rather than endless cycle of consuming.
Mary Beth
Nov 14, 2014 Mary Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read it every year on my birthday.
daniel
Nov 10, 2013 daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a purely mental life may be destructive if it leads us to substitute thought for life and ideas for action.
Heather Newton
May 20, 2014 Heather Newton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Ask me not where I live or what I like to eat . . . Ask me what I am living for and what I think is keeping me from living fully that.”

I first read "Thoughts in Solitude" when I was 20, and I have since returned to re-read it again and again. Its a book I always glean truth from in seeking God.... "and we seek Him successfully when we realize that we cannot find Him unless He shows Himself to us, and yet at the same time that He would not have inspired us to seek Him unless we had already foun
...more
Kayla
May 17, 2016 Kayla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More great thoughts by Merton. Thoughts explores silence, solitude, prayer, and contemplation. Important ideas in in our distracted age. I would not consider myself the kind of person who loves to be busy but I'm finding that developing a true contemplative practice is even more challenging than I expected. Mertons books help.

As a Trappist monk he understood the discipline of silence and solitude better than most people ever will. And yet it seems that he doesn't limit solitude to the idea of si
...more
Maryam Kd
Jun 09, 2015 Maryam Kd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love reading honest books like this where the author speaks directly to your heart and basically reiterates what you already know but are too afraid of bringing to life.

"To keep ourselves spiritually alive we must constantly renew our faith. We are like pilots of fogbound steamers, peering into the gloom in front of us, listening for the sounds of other ships, and we can only reach our harbor if we keep alert. The spiritual life is, then, first of all a matter of keeping awake. We must not los
...more
Michael Laflamme
http://mrlshelflife.wordpress.com/201...

Merton’s writing is for people who want to think about life and their position in it. It is for people who want to encounter God on a deeper level, deeper being deeper than what they have encountered so far, whatever that may be for them. His work is full of God and Jesus and The Holy Spirit. Personally, I find that a good thing. I like that Merton doesn’t attempt to give us the answers to all our questions. He knows that the answers will be different for
...more
Allen Scott
Apr 25, 2016 Allen Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In a day and age of constant business this book takes us back to the concept of meditation and solitude in Christ, something we're supposed to do but forget. Merton's concepts of solitude and the way he describes it keep a good balance between meditation and interaction, a balance of head and heart knowledge, enabling the Holy Spirit to convict and challenge both the Biblical Academic and the Fiery Charismatic. A spiritually challenging, enriching, and very counter culture read.
Dana Kraft
This is a short book but you can take a while with it because there's so much depth here. Picked this up after reading quote from it in "My Life with the Saints". Definitely some thought provoking ideas some of which is only relevant to those with a vocation in solitude. I liked that he cuts through some very common and superficial ideas of what solitude means for a Christian. One of my takeaways is that if you can't find God in society and social interactions, you won't find him in solitude eit ...more
Audrey
Jan 29, 2013 Audrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very thought-provoking book, revealing much of truth that I have sought over the years. This book definitely requires more than a single reading and I continue to read and digest its goodness.

One of Merton's quotes that expresses my heart:

"My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I
...more
Ian
37 short and eloquent devotions, some that read like prayers, full of food for the soul.

Separated into two parts: "Aspects of the Spiritual Life" and "the Love of Solitude" Merton shares the joys of a solitary life. It is in the solitary life that we learn to understand how much God loves us which helps us to step out into community and love others.

I especially enjoyed the devotions on meditative prayer and one's prayer life in general.
Simon
May 10, 2015 Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Merton again offers us much food for thought and prayer. This series of short writings, or written meditations, are helpful to anyone interested in deepening their experience of solitude and prayer in the Christian tradition. These brief chapters deal with solitude, the purpose of bells, of prayer, of meditation. This audible edition could be listened to time and time again.
Elizabeth
Feb 06, 2015 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thomas Merton's words are a treasure for those of us who love solitude and find our deepest, most raw reflections occurring during time away from the distracting life around us. If read with an open heart, his words will find a home there.
PennsyLady (Bev)
Jan 15, 2016 PennsyLady (Bev) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
soft cover
130 pg

Thomas Merton (1915-1968)....influential spiritual thinker of the 20th century...Trappist monk.

Thoughts In Solitude is written from a monastic perspective, sharing the joys and insights of a solitary life.... but, it offers considerations to all who value quiet reflection.

The following are a few such thoughts:

"Without courage we can never attain to true simplicity"

"A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all.
No man can serve to masters.
Your life is shaped by the end yo
...more
Carolyn
Oct 12, 2015 Carolyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A thoroughly spiritual testament that I wish to reread and take notes for a memory of those words that reached to my inner space with impact and perfection. How very thankful I have been to discover this Trappist Monk's words. Life changing and profound. More will come from this feeble brain!

Well into The Seven Storyed Mountain at this time, his autobiography.
Jackie Dean
Jan 21, 2016 Jackie Dean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book

Lots of things to ponder in this book. I enjoyed reading each chapter like a devotional at night. Then I can think about what I read overnight.
Kent Robinson
Jun 28, 2014 Kent Robinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unbelievably good book. Though a short book, much it it is very thought provoking. I am still mulling over some of the passages.
David
Mar 31, 2016 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the first part. Incredible insight. Second part a little too ethereal for me.
Emma Refvem
Dec 28, 2014 Emma Refvem rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great meditations on the idea of meditation... I will come back to this over & over for sure
Mare
Nov 09, 2014 Mare rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a timeless read. First read as part of a retreat exercise - Wow!
Will Owen
My first Merton. I can certainly say that I get what all the fuss is about. I only wish there weren't so much He and man language. It was the fifties, but still.
Frank
Jul 11, 2010 Frank rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a small book and in time an easy read but there is a lot of thought in it that gets you thinking. He challenges the reader to take the time in solitude and quiet to address simple things like temperament and what it means spiritually. This is something that cannot be addressed in a busy life style. And so these notes of Merton challenge one to stop and listen to one's heart and the the Spirit; Something that few of us can hear in todays nosy world.
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Thomas Merton was one of the most influential Catholic authors of the 20th century. A Trappist monk of the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani, in the American state of Kentucky, Merton was an acclaimed Catholic spiritual writer, poet, author and social activist. Merton wrote over 60 books, scores of essays and reviews, and is the ongoing subject of many biographies. Merton was also a proponent of int ...more
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“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.” 904 likes
“If a man is to live, he must be all alive, body, soul, mind, heart, spirit.” 207 likes
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