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The Environmental Vision of Thomas Merton$
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Monica Weis

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780813130040

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813130040.001.0001

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Dancing with the Raven

Dancing with the Raven

(p.1) Introduction Dancing with the Raven
The Environmental Vision of Thomas Merton

SSJ Monica Weis

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter emphasizes three pivotal moments in Thomas Merton's life. The first, in the late 1950s, was his experience at Fourth and Walnut in Louisville, where he suddenly realized that “I loved all people and that they are a part of me”. The second, in 1963, was the experience that triggered his letter to Rachel Carson, an experience of his oneness with all of nature. The third, in 1968, was the experience at the Buddha statues in Ceylon, where he was drawn into oneness with all that is. This book explores the powerful impact of nature on Thomas Merton's spiritual development and budding ecological consciousness. It also explores Merton's commitment to seeing and increased awareness and explores some of the consequences of that commitment: his deepening sense of place and desire for solitude; his expanded love and responsibility for human and nonhuman life; and his evolving ecological consciousness. An overview of the chapters included in this book is presented.

Keywords:   Thomas Merton, Rachel Carson, Buddha statues, nature, spiritual development, ecological consciousness, human, nonhuman life

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