Into the Silent Land: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation

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Oxford University Press, Jul 1, 2006 - Religion - 176 pages
4 Reviews
Sitting in stillness, the practice of meditation, and the cultivation of awareness are commonly thought to be the preserves of Hindus and Buddhists. Martin Laird shows that the Christian tradition of contemplation has its own refined teachings on using a prayer word to focus the mind, working with the breath to cultivate stillness, and the practice of inner vigilance or awareness. But this book is not a mere historical survey of these teachings. In Into the Silent Land, we see the ancient wisdom of both the Christian East and West brought sharply to bear on the modern-day longing for radical openness to God in the depths of the heart. Laird's book is not like the many presentations for beginners. While useful for those just starting out, this book serves especially as a guide for those who desire to journey yet deeper into the silence of God. The heart of the book focuses on negotiating key moments of struggle on the contemplative path, when the whirlwind of distractions or the brick wall of boredom makes it difficult to continue. Laird shows that these inner struggles, even wounds, that any person of prayer must face, are like riddles, trying to draw out of us our own inner silence. Ultimately Laird shows how the wounds we loathe become vehicles of the healing silence we seek, beyond technique and achievement. Throughout the language is fresh, direct, and focused on real-life examples of people whose lives are incomparably enriched by the practice of contemplation.
 

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User Review  - wrmjr66 - LibraryThing

Laird's brief introduction to Christian contemplation is a clear and readable book on a subject that can sometimes be opaque. His readings of some of the desert fathers is particularly illuminating ... Read full review

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User Review  - MapleMystic - LibraryThing

Though I am 50% through this book, I know I will immediately begin to re-read it once done. This book was a recommendation from the leader of a contemplative group I fellowship with out of Columbus ... Read full review

Contents

The Bodys Call to Prayer
31
The Way of the Prayer Word
47
FIVE
75
Practicing with Affliction
95
SEVEN
117
Who Am I? A Tale of Monastic Failure
133
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About the author (2006)

Martin Laird, O.S.A., is Associate Professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova University. He has studied patristics in Rome, London, and Oxford, and has extensive training in contemplative disciplines and gives retreats throughout the United States and Great Britain. He is the translator or author of a host of books and articles, including Gregory of Nyssa and the Grasp of Faith: Union, Knowledge and Divine Presence (OUP, 2004).

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