Here is a brief excerpt from an article, “The Contemplative Life,” edited by Naomi Burton, Brother Patrick Hart, and James Laughlin in The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton, published by New Directions (1975). If you feel that earning a living often seems like swimming laps in a blender or bungyjumping in a disposal, Merton’s insights may be helpful.
“The contemplative life must provide an area, a space of liberty, of silence, in which possibilities are allowed to surface and new choices –beyond routine choice — become manifest. It should create a new experience of time, not as stopgap stillness, but a ‘temps vierge’ — not a blank to be filled or an untouched space to be conquered and violated, but a space which can enjoy its own potentialities and hopes — and its own presence to itself. One’s own time. But not dominated by one’s ego and its demands. Hence open to others — compassionate time, rooted in the sense of common illusion and in criticism of it.” (Page 117)