Thursday, November 02, 2006


Note from Renee...puddle has some new posts up at pyzch.

From Into the Silent Land: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation by Martin Laird, Oxford, 2006, pp65-66:

[Practice] vigilant waiting in the silence of just being. When we are well practiced in this way of prayer we will find that we have acquired a certain skill at recognizing thoughts. They appear and disappear in awareness. Now shift your attention from the thought to what is aware of the thought, the awareness itself. This is a very simple shift, but a shift that immediately reveals (however briefly) the still mind. The discursive, reasoning mind will immediately try to turn this too into an object of awareness by generating a mental image of the stillness or a thought such as "the mind is now still" and then embroider some commentary on that. But by now we are well aware of the subtlety of our thoughts. We have learned to use the prayer word as a refuge from those thoughts. We have learned to meet thoughts with stillness instead of obsessive commentary that we play over and over and over again. So now shift your attention from these objects of awareness to the aware-ing itself. The prayer word is essentially silent at this point, even if at more surface levels of consciousness it might be quietly recited. Here one waits, and when the moment is ripe the present moment opens up.

...we encounter the ineffable. It is ineffable because it is neither an "it" nor a "what." It is nothing that can be grasped by thoughts, feelings, words. Language wilts. The prayer word opens. It reveals not another object of awareness, but the groundless ground that is the core of all being. This typically registers to the mind as an indescribable vastness, streaming from all sides, streaming from no sides, an ocean full and overflowing with a luminous nothing. But I am not describing some particular thing that appears as an object of awareness, as some sort of visual or sensible experience, something you see happening to you. I'm trying to point to where no word has ever gone, but out of which the Word emerges. And so this Silence washes onto the shores of perception, making it stretch to receive in metaphors of light, union, calm, spaciousness.

The very attention that gazes into this vastness is itself this vastness, luminous depth gazing into luminous depth. You are the vastness into which you gaze. "Deep calls unto deep in the roar of your waters." (Ps. 42:7). But we must come to know this for ourselves as we are carried through this doorway of unknowing into the silent land.

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