By Martin Laird
"The perform of contemplation is likely one of the nice religious arts," writes Martin Laird in A Sunlit Absence. "Not a strategy 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 frequently ignored by way of books on Christian meditation: an enormous 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, etc, Laird indicates how we will discover the deeper degrees of know-how that relaxation inside us like buried treasure ready to be stumbled on. the main perception of the e-book 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 adventure in meditation--boredom, lethargy, vanity, melancholy, grief, anxiety--not as stumbling blocks to be triumph over yet as possibilities to perform give up to what's. With readability and charm Laird exhibits how we will be able to movement clear of choosing with our turbulent, ever-changing techniques and feelings to the cultivation of a "sunlit absence"--the luminous knowledge during which God's presence can so much profoundly be felt. Addressed to either newcomers and intermediates at the pathless course of nonetheless prayer, A Sunlit Absence deals clever assistance at the specifics of contemplative perform in addition to an inspiring imaginative and prescient of the aim of such perform and the crucial function it could play in our religious lives.
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Additional info for A Sunlit Absence: Silence, Awareness, and Contemplation
For some it might be a predominantly visual sequence of distractions, for others predominantly aural, or a combination of both. The insidious thing about these videos is that they have a way of cultivating a psychological identiﬁcation with them. ” This mind-tripping state of awareness is nearly always chewing, chattering, and commenting. Moreover, these tape-loops gain a very subtle yet effective momentum. The more we watch or listen to them, the more we identify with them, the more we live out of them and live them out.
Our search for God, who has sought and found us from all eternity (Jer 1:5), is shown to be nothing but this deep listening to the alluring knock: “Behold I stand at the door and knock” (Rev 3:2). “I am the Door” (Jn 19:9). 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.
We don’t make retreats alongside highways. Places of retreat, centers of recovery and healing, even some religious communities purposely cultivate physical silence in service of something else. 4 While the constant stimulation of the noise of everyday life keeps anxiety levels high and our attention ﬁxed on objects that we are (more or less) aware of, whether an exterior object such as a computer screen or an interior object such as a thought or feeling or mind-tripping inner video. But God is not an object in the way these things are objects and therefore cannot be an object of our awareness in the same way.
A Sunlit Absence: Silence, Awareness, and Contemplation by Martin Laird