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Sean Carter Essay, Research Paper

Living from day to day is a journey that never ends. It is a constant

yearning to discover who we are and who we want to be. Sometimes, however,

what we think we are, we sometimes aren’t, and what we wish to be isn’t

always what we become. It is a constant learning process to discover one’s

self and is not something that can be easily achieved.

Thomas Merton, a trappist Monk, describes his journey of discovering

himself in the autobiography The Seven Story Mountain. There were times

and periods in his life when he thought he knew what he did or did not want

to be and then there were times filled with confusion of not knowing his

true identity. It wasn’t until he finally joined the trappist monastery

that he felt secure with himself and felt that he had finally achieved the

discovery of who he truly was.

Throughout his life, Thomas Merton actively sought many things that he

thought would help him discover his true identity and become what he

thought he should be. Inevitably, though spiritual quests and yearnings.

As a seeker of true innerpeace, Merton was often unrealistic in his

choices and decisions which often le him to outcomes that weren’t as he had

anticipated. He often found himself in a state of confusion where he did

not think about the consequences or sacrifices he would have to make to

actually belong.

Thomas Merton wanted to find a place “his place” in which he felt that

he belonged. However, unlike may other people, Merton found himself a

constant wanderer. He chose though, not to give up until he had found his

personal sanctuary. The constant need for a sense of belonging led Merton

into many different religions and social structures that did not exactly

fit “him”. He often dove head into many organizations and then found a

great deal of resentment towards those particular groups. A particular

example of this was when Merton decided to attend Communist meetings. He

went to one even though he did not know what the word really meant or even

the basis for which the groups stood. Merton thought that he had to go

through with meetings or other social gatherings before he realized that

they weren’t for him. Ultimately, he knew that he would somehow find his

Utopia in a religion.

Only when an individual truly gives themselves up to their spirituality

do they begin to become peaceful. The connection of their spirituality to

a “higher power” is what gives them a true feeling of belonging and

attachment to a stable environment. After Merton purchased a book on

Catholicism by accident, he found that he enjoyed the readings and became

very interested in learning more. He had finally begun to believe that

this was “his” religion and this feeling of happiness drove him to seek

more wisdom.

Once Merton found his “self” as a spiritual mystic, he then felt

compelled to aid others in finding their “self”. He did this by expressing

his discoveries and knowledge he dad acquired from his many different

experiences, and put them all together in a compelling piece of work that

has been read by many. By entering the trappist monastery Merton believed

he had truly discovered his “self” and felt the weight of the world had

been removed from his shoulders.

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