“Life is Change… How it Differs From the Rocks”

First of all, happy Feast of the Transfiguration, everyone! Today is the day liturgical Christians commemorate Jesus taking Peter, James and John onto the mountaintop where, in one of the Gospels' most beautiful and mystical passages, we read this:And Jesus was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us t … [Read more...]

A Modest Proposal (and a question for folks who live near Decatur, Georgia)

If you have known me for a while, you know that for almost two years I was involved in a "Christian Mysticism Meetup" group that met every Wednesday night at a church in the Atlanta suburbs. At first we had lots of energy: 20 - 25 people attending each night; but eventually the group withered down to maybe 5 people or so showing up at a time. As I began to have conflicts on the night when the group met (Wednesdays) I let the group go, and that was the end of it. But I told the last few loyal … [Read more...]

Concerning Stillness, Songs, and Soul Friends

A reader writes:Carl, when you are sufficiently silent with the “waters stilled” how do you experience revelation. I suppose a better question would be what is your experience “there” like? Does God float into view … or does God whisper … ?? Or do you find a path to look inwardly in order to find answers, results, etc. I guess that one overarching question here would be “Do you have a purpose or question in mind before you start out?”I believe radically that "silence is praise" (Psalm 65:1, t … [Read more...]

Simplicity and Silence

This message came to me the other day.Hi Carl. Love reading your blogs. From one who is a struggling contemplative can you tell me what form of contemplative prayer you do and why? Also can one do more than one form of contemplative prayer? ie, will one complement the other?Two questions here. First, what does my own daily practice look like? And secondly, what do I think about using more than one method of contemplative practice?First, about what I do. I'm assuming you simply want to … [Read more...]

Concerning Spiritual Noise, (Lack of) Inner Silence, and Singlemindedness

AM writes: I find most of your posts on the contemplative life too congested with many labels and categories - mystics and non-mystics, oppositional thinking and non-oppositional thinking, Christian mysticism and ordinary Christian spirituality, Protestant mystics and Catholic mystics, mysticism and contemplation, etc. This appears to me not only an intellectual congestion but also a spiritual noise, a portrayal of a lack of inner silence. Somehow, I visit your blog ... to be nourished … [Read more...]

Into the Silent Land

Into the Silent Land: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation By Martin Laird Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006 Review by Carl McColmanHere is one of the loveliest, most poetic, and most useful books on the practice of mature Christian prayer that I have ever read.First of all, what this book is not. It is not a comprehensive guide to Christian spirituality, or even to Christian prayer. The author does not bother discussing the sacramental or liturgical life of the church, or … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

It makes sense to compare the work of contemplation to sleep. When we're asleep, the functions of our physical faculties are suspended so that our bodies can get complete rest. Sleep nourishes and strengthens our bodies in every way. The same is true of the spiritual "sleep" of contemplative prayer. The stubborn questions of our restless spirituality and all our creative and rational thoughts are firmly bound and totally emptied, so the happy soul can sleep soundly, resting profoundly in the … [Read more...]


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