Suppose that my “poverty” be a hunger for spiritual riches: suppose that by pretending to empty myself, pretending to be silent, I am really trying to cajole God into enriching me with some experience — what then?
Then everything becomes a distraction. All created things interfere with my quest for some special experience. I must shut them out, or they will tear me apart.
What is worst — I, myself am distraction. But, unhappiest of all — if my prayer is centered in myself, if it seeks only an enrichment of my own self, my prayer will be my greatest potential distraction.
Full of my own curiosity, I have eaten of the tree of Knowledge and torn myself away from myself and God.
I am left rich and alone and nothing can assuage my hunger: everything I touch turns into distraction.–Thomas Merton
Thoughts In Solitude by Thomas Merton (p 93)