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...]

Fast Food Mysticism?

Consider these two interesting quotes. This one comes from Simon, who commented on my essay The Hidden Tradition of Christian Mysticism: One of the dangers of Centering Prayer, as I see it, is that contemplation is being served up as some sort of fast food. MacContemplation, so to speak! And this, from Ali at Meadowsweet & Myrrh, reflecting on the Northern Ireland retreat: What is the connection between silent contemplation and peace? Is there one? ... so far the lesson of this week … [Read more...]

Quote for the Day

The contemplative discipline of meditation, what I will call in this book contemplative practice, doesn't acquire anything. In that sense, and an important sense, it is not a technique but a surrendering of deeply imbedded resistances that allows the sacred within gradually to reveal itself as a simple, fundamental fact. Out of this letting go there emerges what St. Paul called our "hidden self": "may he give you the power through his Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong" (Eph 3:16). … [Read more...]

Where do I go?

A reader named Kathy writes: I have had so many mystical experiences in my life that I have few to share with... I’ve searched in the Christian churches for places to feel understood, where I can worship my love of Christ, and fellowship... but always feel alone. I am a mother and a wife, and am looking for fellowship with others who have a mystical orientation with Christianity.. where do I go? Where shall I find that sense of community? Any thoughts would be most appreciated. Alas, I wish I h … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X