Love must always precede knowledge. The mind alone cannot get us there (which is the great arrogance of most Western religion). Prayer in my later years has become letting myself be nakedly known, exactly as I am, in all my ordinariness and shadow, face to face, without any masks or religious makeup. Such nakedness is a falling into the unified field underneath reality, what Thomas Merton called “a hidden wholeness,”  where we know in a different way and from a different source. This is the contemplative’s unique access point: knowing by union with a thing, where we can enjoy an intuitive grasp of wholeness, a truth beyond words, beyond any need or capacity to prove anything right or wrong. This is the contemplative mind which religion should have directly taught, but which it largely lost.
Serious contemplative teaching—very upfront in the desert fathers and mothers—is surely found in Celtic Christianity (outside of empire), and is continued by leaders of many monasteries, for example, by John Cassian (360–435 CE), Pseudo-Dionysius (5th–6th centuries), and Hugh of St. Victor (1096–1141) in Paris. Later mystics like Bonaventure (1221–1274), Francisco de Osuna (1497–1541), the unknown author of The Cloud of Unknowing (late 14th century), and 16th century mystics Teresa of Ávila (1515–1582) and John of the Cross (1542–1591) also taught nondual consciousness.
It held on much longer in the religious orders than the ordinary local church or with the common priest or bishop—whose ministry was an occupation more than a search for God or a “school for the Lord’s service,” as St. Benedict (480–547) described. 
.. after the over-rationalization of the 17th and 18th century Enlightenment, many of us Western Christians became very defensive, wanting to prove we were smart and could win arguments with the new secularism. We imitated the rationalists while using pious Christian vocabulary. It took the form of heady Scholasticism and rote formulas in Catholicism, and led to fundamentalism and memorized Scripture verses providing their own kind of “rationalism” among many Protestants.
.. Catholic doctrines (such as transubstantiation, papal infallibility, and hierarchical authority) came to be presented in a largely academic and juridical way (or, for the sacraments, with an almost magical interpretation), as opposed to a contemplative or mystical way.
.. Thomas Merton (1915–1968) was very influential in reintroducing contemplation to the West. Now it is again taught in Christian arenas all over the world under different names.
.. contemplation is the way you know and think of yourself when you are sincerely praying and present—as opposed to thinking, arguing, or proving.
Thomas Merton writes, “Non-violence implies a kind of bravery far different from violence.”  Our dualistic minds see evil as black and white and that the only solution is to eliminate evil. Nonviolence, on the other hand, comes from an awareness that I am also the enemy and my response is part of the whole moral equation. I cannot destroy the other without destroying myself. I must embrace my enemy just as much as I must welcome my own shadow. Both acts take real and lasting courage.
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) coined a new term, satyagraha, because “passive resistance” didn’t capture his mission. Satyagraha combines the Sanskrit word sat—that which is, being, or truth—with graha—holding firm to or remaining steadfast in. It is often translated as “truth force” or “soul force.”
.. To create peaceful change, we must begin by remembering who we are in God. Gandhi believed the core of our being is union with God. From this awareness, nonviolence must flow naturally and consistently:
Non-violence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our very being. . . . If love or non-violence be not the law of our being, the whole of my argument falls to pieces
.. Regardless of what name we call the divine, Gandhi believed that experiencing God’s loving presence within is central to nonviolence. This was his motivation and sustenance as he fasted for peace, as he embraced the untouchables (whom he called “Children of God”)
For Merton, the spiritual life is a journey in which we discover ourselves in discovering God, and discover God in discovering our true self hidden in God. Merton writes:
The secret of my identity is hidden in the love and mercy of God.
But whatever is in God is really identical with Him [sic], for His infinite simplicity admits no division and no distinction. Therefore I cannot hope to find myself anywhere except in Him.
Ultimately the only way that I can be myself is to become identified with Him in whom is hidden the reason and fulfillment of my existence.
Therefore there is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace and my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him I will find myself and if I find my true self I will find Him.
.. When we seem to possess and use our being and natural faculties in a completely autonomous manner, as if our individual ego were the pure source and end of our own acts, then we are in illusion and our acts, however spontaneous they may seem to be, lack spiritual meaning and authenticity.