“But basically, the discipline involved here is that of a crucifixion which eliminates a superficial and selfish kind of experience and opens to us the freedom of a life that is not dominated by egoism, vanity, willfulness, passion, aggressiveness, jealousy, greed. Finally, discipline means solitude of some sort, not in the sense of selfish withdrawal but in the sense of an emptiness that no longer cherishes the comfort of various social ‘idols” and is not slavishly dependent on the approval of others. In such solitude one learns not to seek love but to give it. One’s great need is now no longer to be loved, understood, accepted, pardoned, but to understand, to love, to pardon and accept others just as they are, in order to help them transcend themselves in love.”
Thomas Merton. “Renewal and Discipline” in Contemplation in A World of Action (New York, Doubleday and Company, Inc.): 131-132.