Merton believes that 'the desert is ... the logical dwelling place for the man who seeks to be ... dependent upon no one but God'.
Ringma talks of the attitude of the heart that can be seen as a desert experience. It is interesting to hear of people's anxiety when they experience the realities of a spiritual barrenness. Quite often seen as a negative and rarely self owned, mostly the fault of others rarely seen as a source of growth.
Ringma points out that "a desert is a place of loneliness, lack, emptiness. It is the place where our normal skills and resources are inadequate. And therefore the desert strips us bare... it is ironic that this place, seemingly so difficult and bare, can become the place where we trust God more fully, experience his renewing grace and are empowered to do exploits which we would never have thought possible while we were so full of our own ideas and programmes"
Ringma, C. R. (2003:72- 73). Seek the Silences with Thomas Merton: Reflections on Identity, Community and Transformative Action. London: Spck Publishing.