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.
ISBN-13: 978-0195307603. Hardcover. 2006.