A Sunlit Absence: Silence, Awareness, and Contemplation by Martin Laird

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By Martin Laird

"The perform of contemplation is among the nice religious 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 freeing sea of silence." during this better half quantity to his bestselling Into the Silent Land, Laird makes a speciality of a high quality usually missed 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 indicates how we will be able to discover the deeper degrees of understanding that relaxation inside us like buried treasure ready to be stumbled on. the most important perception of the publication is that as our perform matures, so will our event of life's ordeals, sorrows, and joys extend into beneficiant, receptive adulthood. We learn how to see no matter what problems we event in meditation--boredom, lethargy, vanity, melancholy, grief, anxiety--not as hindrances to be triumph over yet as possibilities to perform quit to what's. With readability and style Laird exhibits how we will be able to movement clear of settling on with our turbulent, ever-changing ideas and feelings to the cultivation of a "sunlit absence"--the luminous understanding within which God's presence can so much profoundly be felt. Addressed to either novices and intermediates at the pathless direction of nonetheless prayer, A Sunlit Absence bargains clever information at the specifics of contemplative perform in addition to an inspiring imaginative and prescient of the aim of such perform and the valuable position it may play in our non secular lives.

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We’ll be like strangers. I think I must have been in shock or something, but everything from the moment she said this seemed like it was happening in slow motion. For the next couple of days I just repeated our last conversation over and over again to myself, trying to remember if there was some way I misunderstood her, that she wasn’t really breaking it off. Maybe there was something in her voice that suggested she didn’t really mean it, that what she really meant was that we just had to work through some issues and then we’d be fine again.

It doesn’t really matter. This video, this inner commentary, is nearly always playing, with the result that we are nearly always watching it. When undergraduates read some of the writings of the fourth-century spiritual writers known as the desert fathers and mothers, they are often surprised to see that this chaos within the mind is a major concern for all who embark on the spiritual path. Evagrius, a fourth-century monk living in Egypt, has perhaps the most to say about these inner videos and how they very subtly keep us from ever embarking on the spiritual path.

This “something else” is untouched and free of all thoughts, even as it suffuses, and permeates, and knows how to do nothing other than be one with all. Something is being born of the practice of silence, and this leads us into Silence itself. As our practice deepens we see that thoughts are as porous as screen, porous to their grounding Silence. Realizing this, we are not quite so compelled to react or push away or grasp. Yet the externals of our practice remain basically the same; whenever we are aware that the attention has been stolen, we bring the attention back, whether or not we need to repeat the prayer word.

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