We should always be wary of applying linear notions of progress to our prayer life and asking ourselves: “What stage am I in?” “How far have I progressed?” Whatever “progress” in prayer is supposed to mean, it certainly doesn’t work like that. This is something Thomas Merton pointed out toward the end of his life. He said, “In prayer we discover what we already have. You start from where you are and you deepen what you already have, and you realize you are already there. We already have everything but we don’t know it and don’t experience it. Everything has been given to us in Christ. All we need is to experience what we already possess.” Into the Silent Land: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation, Martin Laird, pg. 53


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