My favorite Thomas Merton book is “When the Trees Say Nothing.” I love the first lines of the book: “In this wilderness I have learned how to sleep again. I am not alien. The trees I know, the night I know, the rain I know. I close my eyes and instantly sink into the whole rainy world of which I am a part, and the world goes on with me in it, for I am not alien to it.”
I can meditate on those sentences and flow into moments in the Sierra Nevadas, the Tongass forest in Alaska, the woods by my old house in Vermont, the canopy of trees and summer rain in my backyard. There is something calming and reassuring in the meditation.
“Learn how to meditate on paper, ” said Merton. “Drawing and writing are forms of meditation. Learn how to contemplate works of art. Learn how to pray in the streets or in the country. Know how to meditate not only when you have a book in your hand but when you are waiting for a bus or riding in a train.”