"[Paradise] is rather an attitude of heart, a state of consciousness, in a spiritual journey."

The author, a priest and Cistercian monk, has artfully crafted this “collection of precious notes” inspired by Thomas Merton, a prominent twentieth-century Trappist monk known for his insightful scholarly work in Christian mysticism. Merton was praised by Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama, as having the most profound understanding of Buddhism than any Christian he had ever known. This book addresses the state of returning to paradise as a state of consciousness in Christian terminology, using many well-known biblical metaphors familiar to Christians and non-Christians alike. Many of the precepts discussed have strong relevance in Buddhist theology and in mystic Islam, both of which share the idea that higher states of consciousness are available to both laypeople and monastics as well as to both non-religious and religious spiritual seekers.

The author patiently and methodically explains in just three chapters Merton’s philosophy of attaining the consciousness of paradise by setting ego and earthly desires aside to exist in the present moment, an act of gratitude and prayerful union with God. The author sees this union as simultaneously an act of contemplation and an act of transformation. By his account, the state of self-identity—the “I” consciousness—vanishes, and what remains is unparalleled “being,” a state of limitless peace and joy. In this state of mind, God is everywhere, in everything, and, therefore, to exist in this state is true paradise. Spiritual seekers will appreciate the concrete and accessible guidance in this book, and it certainly can be read and re-read as needed to rekindle the wonder of life’s sacred aspects. The beauty of this philosophical journey is that the journey and the destination are available to all.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Return to USR Home