Reflection on the Inner Self

The inner self is very secretive. It evades every concept that tries to seize hold of it with full possession. It is a life that can not be studied as object because it is not a thing. It is not reached and coaxed forth from hiding by any process under the sun, including meditation. All that we can do with any spiritual discipline is produce within ourselves something of the silence, humility, the detatchment, the purity of the heart, and the indifference which are required for the inner self to make some shy, unpredictable manifestation.
At the same time, however, every deeply spiritual experience, whether religous, moral or artistic tends to have in it something of the presence of the interior self. Only from the inner self does any spiritual experience gain depth, reality and a certain incommunicability. But the depth of ordinary spiritual
experience only gives us a derivative sense of the inner self. It reminds us of the forgotten levels of interiority in our spiritual nature, and of our helplessness to explore them.

Thomas Merton

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