By Martin Laird
"The perform of contemplation is without doubt one of 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 spouse 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 unlimited 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, etc, Laird exhibits how we will be able to discover the deeper degrees of expertise that leisure inside of us like buried treasure ready to be chanced on. the most important 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 event in meditation--boredom, lethargy, conceitedness, melancholy, grief, anxiety--not as hindrances to be triumph over yet as possibilities to perform hand over to what's. With readability and style Laird exhibits how we will be able to movement clear of selecting with our turbulent, ever-changing recommendations and feelings to the cultivation of a "sunlit absence"--the luminous expertise within which God's presence can such a lot profoundly be felt. Addressed to either newcomers and intermediates at the pathless course of nonetheless prayer, A Sunlit Absence bargains clever counsel at the specifics of contemplative perform in addition to an inspiring imaginative and prescient of the aim of such perform and the relevant position it could actually play in our non secular lives.
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Additional info for A Sunlit Absence: Silence, Awareness, and Contemplation
Evagrius is suggesting that there are certain areas of life where obsessive patterns tend to occur. Some pertain to more basic things, such as anxiety over our material welfare (gluttony or avarice, for example), while others pertain to a more rational dimension, such as anxiety over what people think of us (vainglory). He pinpoints certain areas of life in which inner noise, anxiety, confusion are frothed up by the mind’s whisk with the result that we become out of touch with reality. If we are out of touch with reality, we are at the same time out of touch with ourselves, with others, and with God.
It would all begin with a small seductive voice that made promises it couldn’t keep. “Here, I’ll take care of you,” it would murmur in my ear. “I see you’re feeling a bit down. ” “Oh no, not again,” another inner voice would object in alarm. “I’m not going to eat right now. . ” “Hey, you don’t have to feel that sadness. Don’t give in to it. Leave it alone. Come with me. Let’s go see what’s in the pantry. ”24 A student in one class who, due to bipolar disorder, struggled more than most with inner chatter, knew this cacophony Our Collection of Videos 39 well, and reminded the class one day that Cerberus guards the door not only to keep people from entering but also to keep people from leaving.
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. ” It can be tepid or it can be a tempest. It can be entertaining, pious, a horror story, or utterly humdrum. 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.
A Sunlit Absence: Silence, Awareness, and Contemplation by Martin Laird