Tuesday, June 13, 2006


There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence (and that is) activism and overwork....The rush and pressure of modern life are a form of violence.
To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence.
The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.
Thomas Merton, Trappist Monk, 1915-1968


Rozanne said...

And isn't even a contemporary observation. Imagine what Merton would have to say about today's insano pace.

patti_cake said...

He would definitely blow a fuse!

Carrie said...

Amen! It would be interesting to see what he'd have to say about the state of things today!

bemused said...

Oh, wow, as relevant (or more so others have pointed out) today as it was when he said it. And boy, can I relate. The finish line for a fundraiser (over a year in planning) is less than 2 weeks away and all of us involved are stressed, stressed, stressed. It is going to be awesome and fun and so worth it, but nerves are getting short and tempers have flared a few times. We're all due for a well-deserved break.

When the pace gets frantic like this, I always question why I raise my hand and volunteer. How heavenly it would be to ignore problems and not strive to improve things. It's always a short-lived thought because I could never let things be when they could be better. I am working on limiting how many activities I commit to - sitting on my hands at meetings has been fairly effective. I also go to my garden to revive my inner peace. The Zen of Weeding is my form of meditation.

little sister said...

This post could not be more relevant to what's happened to me in the last few months....gah!

Everyone at work thinks I'm some wonderwoman because of all the OT I work, my involvement in local politics and work with the USS Indy survivors organization (ooh - but I might be on TV for the telethon! yep - it's fame and recognition I want - lol). All that on top of mi hija's wedding....as a result, I've been in bed with the plague or something for about a week because, as you said, I've succumbed to self-inflicted violence and my body just said stop NOW.

I'm wonderwoman all right - wondering WTF have I been thinking?

happy little atom said...

LOVE it. Thanks for sharing. It's true. The less I do, the more I feel what I'm actually doing is working in the world. Is making a difference. It's taken me years to get to this point. Alice Walker writes about it a lot. And we all know she RAWKS.