By Martin Laird
"The perform of contemplation is without doubt one of the nice non secular arts," writes Martin Laird in A Sunlit Absence. "Not a method yet a ability, it harnesses the winds of grace that lead us out into the releasing sea of silence." during this spouse quantity to his bestselling Into the Silent Land, Laird specializes in a high quality frequently neglected by way of books on Christian meditation: an unlimited and flowing spaciousness that embraces either silence and sound, and transcends all subject/object dualisms. Drawing at the knowledge of serious contemplatives from St. Augustine and St. Teresa of Avila to St. Hesychios, Simone Weil, and so forth, Laird exhibits how we will discover the deeper degrees of knowledge that leisure inside us like buried treasure ready to be chanced on. the main perception of the publication is that as our perform matures, so will our adventure of life's ordeals, sorrows, and joys extend into beneficiant, receptive adulthood. We learn how to see no matter what problems we adventure in meditation--boredom, lethargy, vanity, melancholy, grief, anxiety--not as stumbling blocks to be conquer yet as possibilities to perform give up to what's. With readability and beauty Laird exhibits how we will be able to circulation clear of making a choice on with our turbulent, ever-changing options and feelings to the cultivation of a "sunlit absence"--the luminous information within which God's presence can such a lot profoundly be felt. Addressed to either rookies and intermediates at the pathless course of nonetheless prayer, A Sunlit Absence deals clever counsel at the specifics of contemplative perform in addition to an inspiring imaginative and prescient of the aim of such perform and the imperative position it may play in our religious lives.
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Extra info for A Sunlit Absence: Silence, Awareness, and Contemplation
They give birth to twins: inner solitude and a loving solidarity with all, a solidarity that runs deeper than personal preference. Saint. Isaac the Syrian says, “After a time a certain sweetness is born in the heart out of this practice. ”21 As much a tangle as our practice may seem, it will 20 A Sunlit Absence begin to untangle. One of the signs that our practice is beginning to unfold is that we get a sense of what St. ” Something deeper begins to attract us, and this something deeper is more spacious, alluring, and silent than the tediously dramatic opera scores of inner chatter.
As our practice of silent prayer matures from place of refuge to place of encounter, what is our practice like and what is our relationship with thoughts? The external circumstances of our lives continue to be whatever they happen to be at any given moment, but now we experience these circumstances differently. At the same time we have long begun to 22 A Sunlit Absence take account of and make amends for the many ways in which we set ourselves up for much of our misery by deriving our sense of identity from and acting out of this inner chatter.
11 The practice of contemplation in the Christian tradition tends to emphasize the cultivation of concentration through the use of a short phrase or prayer word (versiculum), often inspired by Scripture. But this is not the only way to dispose ourselves to the gift of contemplation. 12 This is known as lectio divina and is a style of prayer with deep roots in the Christian tradition. ”13 These general approaches to the practice of contemplation, however, are not opposed to each other; for the interior silence that all contemplative practices cultivate ﬁnally blossoms as luminous, ﬂowing awareness, not awareness of objects that come and go in the mind like changing weather, but the simple opening up from within of the ground of awareness, Standing at the Gate of the Heart 15 before it becomes awareness of this or that object.
A Sunlit Absence: Silence, Awareness, and Contemplation by Martin Laird