|A comtemplative Thomas Merton
There are many Merton quotes that provide a gateway into contemplation and yet he is the first to warn us that very few come to true contemplation in isolation or where great stress has been placed on self, whether that is self-acceptance or self-esteem. It is not about feeling good about oneself nor finding your own way on your own terms. The following is from the chapter, Freedom Under Obedience in, Seeds of Contemplation:
The most dangerous man in the world is the contemplative who is guided by nobody. He trusts his own visions. He obeys the attractions of an interior voice, but will not listen to other men. He identifies the will of God with anything that makes him feel, within his own heart, a big, warm, sweet interior glow. The sweeter and the warmer the feeling, the more he is convinced of his own infallibility. And if the sheer force of his own self-confidence communicates itself to other people and gives them the impression that he really is a saint, such a man can wreck a whole city or a religious order or even a nation. The world is covered with scars that have been left in its flesh by visionaries like these.