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 freeing sea of silence." during this better half quantity to his bestselling Into the Silent Land, Laird specializes in a top quality usually ignored by means of books on Christian meditation: an enormous and flowing spaciousness that embraces either silence and sound, and transcends all subject/object dualisms. Drawing at the knowledge of significant contemplatives from St. Augustine and St. Teresa of Avila to St. Hesychios, Simone Weil, and so forth, Laird indicates how we will be able to discover the deeper degrees of wisdom that relaxation inside of us like buried treasure ready to be came upon. the major perception of the ebook 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 adventure 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 indicates how we will flow clear of settling on with our turbulent, ever-changing concepts and feelings to the cultivation of a "sunlit absence"--the luminous knowledge within which God's presence can such a lot profoundly be felt. Addressed to either rookies and intermediates at the pathless course of nonetheless prayer, A Sunlit Absence bargains clever tips at the specifics of contemplative perform in addition to an inspiring imaginative and prescient of the aim of such perform and the vital position it could possibly play in our non secular lives.

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Special Abbreviations, Symbols, and first Sources

Festival Prayers (1Q34 + 1Q34bis, 4Q507, 4Q508, 4Q509 + 4Q505)
4QBerakhot (4Q286-90, 4Q280? )
Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice (4Q400-407, 11Q17, Mas1K)
Times for Praising God (4Q409)
Grace after foodstuff (4Q434a)
A Lamentation (4Q501)
A bridal ceremony? (4Q502)
Daily Prayers (4Q503)
The phrases of the Luminaries (4Q504, 4Q506)
Purification Liturgies (4Q512, 4Q414)

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Scripture References
Dead Sea Scrolls
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Additional resources for A Sunlit Absence: Silence, Awareness, and Contemplation

Sample text

It is as though this mass of thoughts and feelings was a brick wall that once obstructed our vision. But gradually we see that the sense of this wall’s solidity is a creation of our identification with these thoughts and feelings. It is not a wall after all but a window. We can actually see through this mass of thoughts into something else in which they are immersed and saturated. This “something else” is untouched and free of all thoughts, even as it suffuses, and permeates, and knows how to do nothing other than be one with all.

It is concerned with attention and awareness. Silence and awareness are in fact one thing. Poets seem to know about this unity of silence and awareness. 2 The song of the blackbird evokes the same attentive wonder as when the blackbird stops singing. Robert Penn Warren likewise perceives the porous union of sound and silence, in his famous poem “The Enclave”: Out of the silence, the saying. Into The silence, the said. 3 The Open Porches of the Mind 45 As vital as physical silence is for opening up the depth of the present moment, silence does much more than simply tiptoe around; its essence has little to do with the absence of sound waves.

At this doorway of practice to return to the prayer word is to push off the side of a pool into the deep (Lk 5:4). This depth dimension, a “a breadth without breadth, an expanseless expanse,” as Meister Eckhart calls it,20 is nothing but awareness itself, not an object that we are aware of but the ground of awareness itself. We recognize that the interior spaciousness is somehow deeper even as it embraces and permeates interior and exterior noise (noise that may very well continue to bang on). Whereas before we were caught in reactive commentary that caused us to push away or cling to the thoughts and feelings that come and go, we can now let them be, let them come, go, or stay without attending to them.

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