thomas merton is a hero of mine. during many hard days, i've read his words and been able to see the Lord in a different way. from a very honest angle. an angle that gives me hope. thomas' life is incredibly interesting and i encourage you to read any of his writing. 'seeds' is a classic. here's an excerpt from my reading tonight:
"even the capacity to recognize our condition before God is itself a grace. we cannot always attain it at will. to learn meditation does not mean learning an artificial technique for infallibly producing "compunction" and the "sense of our nothingness" whenever we please. on the contrary, this would be the result of violence and would be inauthentic. meditation implies the capacity to receive this grace whenever God wishes to grant it to us, and therefore a permanent disposition to humility, attention to reality, receptivity, pliability. to learn to meditate then means to gradually get free from habitual hardness of heart, torpor and grossness of mind, due to arrogance and non-acceptance of simple reality, or resistance to the concrete demands of God's will.
if in fact our hearts remain apparently indifferent and cold, and we find it morally impossible to "begin" meditating in this way, then we should at least realize that this coldess is itself a sign of our need and of our helplessness. we should take it accordingly as a motive for prayer. we might also reflect that perhaps without meaning to we have fallen into a spirit of routine, and are not able to see how to recover our spontaneity without God's grace, for which we must wait patiently, but with earnest desire. this waiting itself will be for us a school of humility."