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Thomas Merton Quote – “This is the greatest stumbling block…”

This is the greatest stumbling block in our spiritual discipline, which, in actuality, consists not in getting rid of the self but in realizing the fact that there is no such existence from the first. The realization means being “poor” in spirit. “Being poor” does not mean “becoming poor.” “Being poor” means to be from the very beginning not in possession of anything and not giving away what one has. Nothing to gain, nothing to lose; nothing to give, nothing to take; to be just so, and yet to be rich in inexhaustible possibilities — this is to be “poor” in its most proper and characteristic sense of the word, this is what all religious experiences tell us. To be absolutely nothing is to be everything. When one is in possession of something, that something will keep all other somethings from coming in.

Thomas Merton (1915 – 1968)