"The practice of contemplation is one of the great
spiritual arts," writes Martin Laird in A Sunlit Absence. "Not a
technique but a skill, it harnesses the winds of grace that lead us out into
the liberating sea of silence."
In this companion volume to his bestselling Into the Silent
Land, Laird focuses on a quality often overlooked by books on Christian
meditation: a vast and flowing spaciousness that embraces both silence and
sound, and transcends all subject/object dualisms. Drawing on the wisdom of
great contemplatives from St. Augustine and St. Teresa of Avila to St.
Hesychios, Simone Weil, and many others, Laird shows how we can uncover the deeper
levels of awareness that rest within us like buried treasure waiting to be
found. The key insight of the book is that as our practice matures, so will our
experience of life's ordeals, sorrows, and joys expand into generous, receptive
maturity. We learn to see whatever difficulties we experience in
meditation--boredom, lethargy, arrogance, depression, grief, anxiety--not as
obstacles to be overcome but as opportunities to practice surrender to what is.
With clarity and grace Laird shows how we can move away from identifying with
our turbulent, ever-changing thoughts and emotions to the cultivation of a
"sunlit absence"--the luminous awareness in which God's presence can
most profoundly be felt.
Addressed to both beginners and intermediates on the pathless
path of still prayer, A Sunlit Absence offers wise guidance on the specifics of
contemplative practice as well as an inspiring vision of the purpose of such
practice and the central role it can play in our spiritual lives.
ISBN-13: 978-0195378726. Hardcover. 2011.