To understand the life and thought of Thomas Merton, one must understand him as a monk. After introducing his vocation and entrance into the Trappist order, this book highlights some of his basic spiritual presuppositions. Relying primarily on Merton's writing, Bonnie B. Thurston surveys his thought on fundamental aspects of monastic formation and spirituality, particularly obedience, silence, solitude, and prayer. She also addresses some of the temptations and popular misunderstandings surrounding monastic life. Accessible and conversational in style, the book suggests how monastic spirituality is relevant, not only for all Christians, but also for serious spiritual seekers.