A Sunlit Absence: Silence, Awareness, and Contemplation by Martin LairdA Sunlit Absence: Silence, Awareness, and Contemplation by Martin Laird

A Sunlit Absence: Silence, Awareness, and Contemplation

byMartin Laird

Hardcover | June 21, 2011

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"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 asour 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 asopportunities 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.
Martin Laird is Associate Professor of Theology at Villanova University. He has extensive training in contemplative disciplines and gives retreats throughout the United States and Great Britain. He is the author of Gregory of Nyssa and the Grasp of Faith and Into the Silent Land (both by OUP).
Title:A Sunlit Absence: Silence, Awareness, and ContemplationFormat:HardcoverDimensions:208 pages, 7 × 5 × 0.98 inPublished:June 21, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195378725

ISBN - 13:9780195378726

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Standing at the Gate of the Heart: On the Practice of Contemplation2. Our Collection of Videos3. The Open Porches of the Mind: On Silence and Noise4. A Sunlit Absence: The Light of Awareness5. Sifted by Boredom6. Creative Disintegration: Depression, Panic, and Awareness7. Sharp Trials in the Intellect8. "It Don't Work for Me": Prayer of Petition and other Practical ProblemsNotes