By the Right Road

I wrote the following vocal and instrumental piece based on a Thomas Merton prayer in his book Thoughts in Solitude. There are echoes of this in our present time of uncertainty during the pandemic. (Click the image below to watch the video.)


1 Comment

  1. Jeff Arnold | | Reply

    “Just Hope: Not in a Specific Outcome.”

    Often our hope is for a desired outcome. We even pray for specific, desired outcomes. But it is possible to have hope without a desired outcome. Just hope. I actually prefer hope with no desire to hope with desire. The outcome will be whatever it is anyway; regardless of what we desire. This desire-less hope is spiritual hope. You could also call it existential hope.
    You say that hope will lead us forward- and it does. Even this existential hope. In fact, rather than lead us toward a desired outcome, it is open ended toward the future. So I take your words in that same sense: hope does lead us forward … into uncertainty, which is clear in your meditation.

    My second response has to do with “will.” I have long wrestled with this. “Thy will and not my will.” These days I focus on removing ego from “my” will. What’s left is divine will.
    Are you familiar with wu-wei? Merton understood wu wei. Taoist idea. Actionless action. Action without ego. There is an interplay between “action” and “will” which philosophers call dialectical.
    Your words suggest that we think we are following God’s will, and there’s that same uncertainty, that groping, feeling your way forward. Not blind, but seeing through a haze, through a glass darkly. With trust and with hope.
    Funny how we know some things and other things we don’t. We talked a little about how hope leads us forward. Interesting that that would be the thing you know, especially in the context of no particular outcome. But indeed existential hope is one of the things we know with certainty.
    Existence serves up uncertainty and certainty, yining and yanging them back and forth.

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