By Martin Laird

"The perform of contemplation is likely 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 releasing sea of silence." during this better half quantity to his bestselling Into the Silent Land, Laird specializes in a high quality usually ignored via 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, etc, Laird exhibits how we will be able to discover the deeper degrees of information that relaxation inside us like buried treasure ready to be stumbled on. the most important perception of the booklet is that as our perform matures, so will our adventure of life's ordeals, sorrows, and joys extend into beneficiant, receptive adulthood. We discover ways to see no matter what problems we event in meditation--boredom, lethargy, vanity, melancholy, grief, anxiety--not as stumbling blocks to be triumph over yet as possibilities to perform hand over to what's. With readability and charm Laird exhibits how we will be able to movement clear of making a choice on 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 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 might play in our religious lives.

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Extra info for A Sunlit Absence: Silence, Awareness, and Contemplation

Sample text

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. S O M E VA R I E T I E S O F S I L E N C E Not all silence is the same. There is the awkward silence of the road trip with someone we do not know quite well enough to be silent next to, the refrigerating silence of hardened anger, the reverential silence of dogwoods in winter, the vast silence of a cathedral, the focused silence of absorption in our sewing or a good book, the stunned silence of seeing the status of our pension fund.

It is easy to see what 38 A Sunlit Absence Evagrius is getting at when he says these afflictive thoughts can team up with each other. In her memoir of her battle with an eating disorder, Margaret Bullet-Jonas recounts how bulimia ushered her into a world of chaotic fragmentation in order to illustrate the crippling isolation of mind-tripping gone out of control. “The language of compulsive overeating,” she writes, is tragically jumbled and ineffective, as multitoned and multivoiced as Cerberus, the dog who stands at the threshold of hell in Greek mythology, each of its three heads barking independently.

I always thought of my anger as a response to something or someone who had offended me. But Evagrius suggests that anger is a response to pain, to being hurt. If I learn how to handle pain better, I might learn how to handle anger better. But what I find most helpful is the link he establishes between anger and fear. I have recently realized that anger and fear are very closely related. In psychology class we learned about the fight/flight response. ”18 I’ve always known that I struggle a lot with fear but have only recently come to see that when I’m very angry, I will wake up afraid.

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