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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
86
Thoughts In Solitude
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on July 26, 2013
This is a tremendous book by Thomas Merton. I furst read it many years ago while in college. Many years later now after I bought a new copy and read it, it seemed as if for the first time. I know it is because I am older now and can truly appreciate Merton's gift of writing as never before. His book articulates the spiritual journey in solitude better than any other book I have read. Merton has a way of articulating these spiritual moments, realizations and experiences and keeps them grounded in the real world of each person. That is remarkable. I guess I would say the book is simply profound and deep and readable. It is a real gift for a writer to make the sacred and sublime so understandable and clear. I have read this book over and over for well over 30 years and it still is fresh and it still is sublime as ever! I think this is one of Merton's best for the average person, along with his brilliant New Seeds of Contemplation. You cannot go wrong with either!
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on October 21, 2014
I have been very familiar with this book for many years, dating back to the 1970s! I had to replace my copy which I lost. It is an awesome book, as are most of Thomas Merton's work. He has a way of making the mystical and sacred seem understandable, practical and poignant. It is an inspiring book. As i read it, I feel as If someone understands very well the process of being a person hwo spends time in solitude for the purpose of being close to God. Even if a person is not into religion,this book will appeal to them because that is how Merton is in his writing. He speaks to all and makes it clear and makes you want to know more and practice aht he suggests. So if you are a person who wants to learn more about the love and value of solitude, read this book and enjoy it and be mystified by it and think about it. I find it impossible to not practice solitude and meditation/prayer whenver I read any part of this book. As Merton once said, "the reward of the searcher is to keep on searching." Merton is a great guide! And he understands modern life in the world while trying to practice and live a spirituality.
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on April 23, 2016
This little volume is simply beautiful .... and beautifully simple. It was one of Merton's favorites when he looked back on his earlier writings, before that tragic accident in Bangkok on Dec.10, 1968 . It brings us near to him through his intimate thoughts, the fruit of his contemplation, which led him deep into his interior desert. That desert which was later realized, when he was finally granted permission to live as a hermit on the grounds of his monastery. This beautiful little book is a must for anyone contemplating the Solitary Life... it is a true "handbook for hermits".

Bro. John
consrcrated anchorite (canon 603)
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on October 8, 2015
This spiritual book needs to be read and reread. It is filled with deep thoughts to savor whenever or at any time of the day, frankly. This monk is an answer to prayer and I feel fortunate to have taken Pope Francis at his word when he gave this man one of his four recommendations for Americans who have left a profound touch on us all.

His relationship with heavenly father, his humility, the love his words convey, are all reasons to return to all!
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on September 2, 2016
This little book offers the essence of Merton's views about contemplative prayer. The chapters are short, but each phrase is full of meaning. Some sentences, however, are difficult to follow, so I recommend reading slowly, one chapter per night. This an excellent book for those interested in Christian meditation.
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on September 30, 2017
Very good book for learning and meditation.
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on April 24, 2006
The first thing that struck me when receiving this book in the mail was its small pocket/travel size. The physical size should not fool the reader, however. Like the book itself, the pithy sentences and chapters carry weighty clout within the interior of thought.

Written by a monk, one might think the author endorses a life of physical solitude. He lets it be known however, that solitude is not so much a geographical state as it is a condition within oneself - a place of peace where silence becomes the mother of truth.

Beautifully and sometimes poetically written from a spiritual and Christian perspective, "Thoughts In Solitude" is divided into two sections: "Aspects Of The Spiritual Life" and "The Love Of Solitude." Resounding with the truth, one can find a particular familiarity within many of the Thoughts of Thomas Merton. Those who have already instinctively felt the unexpressed benefits of solitude will find even more comfort when meeting the kindred silences after reading this book.
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on June 30, 2007
As someone who is beginning a life dedicated to solitude and silence, reading this book was like having Thomas Merton beside me as a wise friend, guide and mentor, showing the way. It is not a how-to book, but a collection of exquisite short reflections, revealing the inner struggles and deep joy of one who has walked this path, and knows where the rocks are, as well as the hidden springs. "The Christian solitary does not seek solitude merely as an atmosphere, or as a setting for a special and exalted spirituality," writes Merton. "He seeks solitude as an expression of his total gift of himself to God. His solitude is not a means of getting something, but a gift of himself." This book is Merton's humble gift of himself to all of us who seek the Holy One.

As an example, this book is the source of Merton's famous prayer: "O 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 I am following your will does not mean I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will always lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, I will 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."
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on June 9, 2014
Thomas Merton was a very educated man. But, the book seems to lack the flow that I expected, and many chapters did not drive the subject home.
Thoughts In Solitude could have been a story of experiences in painful places. Or it could have given remedies to overcoming mental conditions. That is what I expected to read about in the book.
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on March 1, 2014
The hospital Chaplain said a prayer for my Mother in her last days fighting cancer from this book, and the prayer so touched my heart I had to read more from Thomas Merton. I bought a book for a close friend of Mom, and one for myself. We've both enjoyed reading it a little bit at a time.
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