By Martin Laird
"The perform of contemplation is among 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 specializes in a high quality usually ignored by means 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 significant contemplatives from St. Augustine and St. Teresa of Avila to St. Hesychios, Simone Weil, and so on, Laird indicates how we will discover the deeper degrees of wisdom that relaxation inside of us like buried treasure ready to be chanced 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 discover ways to see no matter what problems we adventure in meditation--boredom, lethargy, conceitedness, melancholy, grief, anxiety--not as hindrances to be triumph over yet as possibilities to perform quit to what's. With readability and beauty Laird indicates how we will be able to movement clear of making a choice on with our turbulent, ever-changing options and feelings to the cultivation of a "sunlit absence"--the luminous understanding within which God's presence can such a lot profoundly be felt. Addressed to either novices 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 valuable position it might probably play in our non secular lives.
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Additional resources for A Sunlit Absence: Silence, Awareness, and Contemplation
What is wrong with scratching the thighs of our inner chatter until they are reddened, chapped, or torn by bitten ﬁngernails of obsession? Whether scratching the thighs of resentment, anguish, old pain, or simply chewing the cud of all the silly cartoons that bounce around in our heads, surely this constant talking, talking, talking to ourselves is perfectly normal. Yes, it is normal, if we call normal a lifetime of believing we are separate from God. This is what most of us experience much of the time.
Chattering commentary about our thoughts and feelings, about life in general, creates a sense of obstruction of this ﬂow as well as an inner sense of tight, reactive grip and anxiety. The practice of contemplation gradually loosens this grip, 24 A Sunlit Absence revealing life as luminous ﬂow. Even the thoughts and feelings, which were previously the most distracting obstacles to inner peace, are now seen to be vehicles of it. Distraction is related to the operatic commentary, not to the simple presence or absence of thoughts and feelings.
This is one of the implications of what theology calls the Divine Simplicity. All creation emerges from and points to (at one and the same time) this simple, grounding Source that is not a particular thing in 46 A Sunlit Absence the way creatures are. An environment of physical simplicity and silence helps relax the tight grip of our mind’s reactive preoccupation with objects in order that deeper ways of encountering God, which we all have within us, may emerge and open and receive that Light that constantly gives and sustains all that is.