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 conjole 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, 93