- Hardcover: 216 pages
- Publisher: Liturgical Press; Har/DVD edition (October 1, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0814632645
- ISBN-13: 978-0814632642
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 7.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #285,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Soul Searching: The Journey of Thomas Merton (Book with DVD) Hardcover – October 1, 2008
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"What an inspiration you were to the attendees at the joint monthly luncheon series of two Presbyterian churches! We were moved not only by the story of Thomas Merton, which you have so artfully assembled, but also by your devotion to assure that his transcendent spirit and beliefs live today. Through you, Merton has much to say to searching people of all faith traditions."
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Merton was a (Catholic) Trappist monk with a searching interest in other religions and spiritualities. His continually growing spirituality--which he wrote about in many books, most notably The Seven Story Mountain published in 1948--was tied in with his moves to different locations and his travels. At the end of his life, he was in Asia (where he died in an accident with electricity) to study Buddhism and Zen firsthand. The material collected by Atkinson as free-ranging conversations for possible use in his documentary is organized according to "four geographical centers of Merton's adult life as lenses through which to see him." These centers are New York City; the Abbey of Gethsemini in rural Kentucky (with which Merton is most identified as a monk and writer); Louisville, Kentucky; and "points west and east" including California and Asia. Atkinson's interest is as much, if not more, a biographical portrait as spiritual one. To each of the four geographical centers, the editor/producer assigns "significant issues of Merton's life"; among these, Merton's "playboy years" when he was at Columbia University, his passing interest in communism, and his conversion to Catholicism.
The biographical emphasis does not obscure, though it limits, the quality and dimensions of the spirituality. One would want to go to Merton's books to get the full dimensions of his spirituality. The book of reminiscences, though, like the documentary, will surely awaken interest in Merton as an outstanding cultural figure and spiritual pilgrim.