We Are One
by Thomas Merton
ONE OF THE PARADOXES of the mystical life is this: that you cannot enter into the deepest center of yourself and pass through that center into God, unless you are able to pass entirely out of and empty yourself and give yourself to other people in the purity of selfless love.
And so one of the worst illusions in the life of contemplation would be to try to find God by barricading yourself inside your own soul, shutting out all external reality by sheer concentration and will power, cutting yourself off from the world and others by stuffing yourself inside your own mind and closing the door like a turtle.
Fortunately, most who try this sort of thing never succeed. For self-hypnotism is the exact opposite of contemplation. We enter into possession of God when God invades all our faculties with his life and infinite love. We do not "possess" him until he takes full possession of us. But this business of doping your mind and isolating yourself from everything that lives, merely deadens you. How can fire take possession of what is frozen?
The more I become identified with God, the more will I be identified with all the others who are identified with him. His love will live in all of us. His Spirit will be our one life, the life of all of us and the life of God. And we shall love one another and God with the same love with which he loves us and himself. This love is God himself.
Christ prayed that all might become one as he was one with his Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Therefore when you and I become what we are really meant to be, we will discover not only that we love one another perfectly but that we are both living in Christ and Christ in us, and we are all one Christ. We will see that it is he who loves in us.
Taken from New Seeds of Contemplation (New York: New Directions Books, 1962), pp.64-65.