The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton is a book that I would think John Lennon would have read at some time in his short life. I searched the internet to see if I could find a link telling me that Lennon had read Merton’s works or that was inspired by him to write a song. Unfortunately, the only thing I could find was a really bad joke: What do Thomas Merton and John Lennon have in common? They were both killed by a fan. *boo*
None the less, indulge me this one week while I review a non-Beatles related book. I’ve been reading this book on and off for 5 months now and needed to get it off my to-do list.
Several years ago, I went on a four day silent retreat to the Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist, KY. I’m not Catholic, but the monks do not pass judgment on anyone wanting to take refuge in their Abbey. It’s the Trappist way. It was at the Abbey that I found out about Thomas Merton., who lived there and was buried there.
Merton was born in France to parents who were artists. He, like Lennon, lost his mother at a young age and then lost his father while he was studying at Cambridge. He admits to being an arrogant young man who believed that after leaving high school that he knew everything he needed to to conquer the world. He smoked, he drank, and he cavorted with women…all to excess.
This book is Merton’s story of how he went from a life of sin, to that of a Trappist monk taking a vow of silence. He went on to write many books with the churches blessing, though some considered writing to be breaking his vows. The church saw it as a form of meditation. To tie Merton’s story in further with Lennon, John was also known to take a vow of silence for days while married to Yoko Ono.
I believe any true John Lennon fan would find this book interesting and will also see the parallels. And for that reason…
I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!