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Into the Silent Land

A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation
Written by: Martin Laird
Narrated by: Erin Bennett
Length: 5 hrs and 1 min
5.0 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Sitting in stillness, the practice of meditation, and the cultivation of awareness are commonly thought to be the preserves of Hindus and Buddhists. Martin Laird shows that the Christian tradition of contemplation has its own refined teachings on using a prayer word to focus the mind, working with the breath to cultivate stillness, and the practice of inner vigilance or awareness.

But this book is not a mere historical survey of these teachings. In Into the Silent Land, we see the ancient wisdom of both the Christian East and West brought sharply to bear on the modern-day longing for radical openness to God in the depths of the heart. Laird's book is not like the many presentations for beginners. While useful for those just starting out, this book serves especially as a guide for those who desire to journey yet deeper into the silence of God.

The heart of the book focuses on negotiating key moments of struggle on the contemplative path, when the whirlwind of distractions or the brick wall of boredom makes it difficult to continue. Laird shows that these inner struggles, even wounds, that any person of prayer must face, are like riddles, trying to draw out of us our own inner silence.

Ultimately Laird shows how the wounds we loathe become vehicles of the healing silence we seek, beyond technique and achievement. Throughout, the language is fresh, direct, and focused on real-life examples of people whose lives are incomparably enriched by the practice of contemplation.

©2006 Martin Laird, O.S.A (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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Well said.

I wish for the whole world to be full of contemplatives. Thank you for the teaching. Amen.

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Dont Let The Christianity Bit Deter You!

I dont indentify as being a Christian or a "Person Of God" if your understanding of God is some bearded man in the sky who is separate from the rest of Reality and created Reality while being separate from Reality. Ive been studying the big picture of Spirituality for a while now and Ive come to understand God as All That Exists, Absolute Infinity, Oneness, not as a separate entity that created the Universe. I was attracted to this book because I have been meditating for about 2 years now and wanted some new techniques to intigrate into my practice and this book is excellent in delivering that. A wonderful read for everyone, not just people of faith.

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wow -profound teaching

excellent narrating. nothing else to say. why do i need more words? why oh why

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Deep

Fantastic but its a deep read or listen. You need to sit and really listen to what is being said. Not something you can multitask with a you might miss important information

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  • M. James
  • 2015-04-25

A top-five selection

_Into the Silent Land_ is in my top five most influential books on the spiritual journey. I have read it—and now listened to it, too—multiple times over the years. It registers more deeply with me each time.

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  • D. Hilton
  • 2017-01-02

Fantastic guide to Contemplation

The book itself is deep, wise and inspiring. I learned a great deal about contemplation and myself from listening.
I wasn't crazy about the narrator although she read the book clearly and with good inflection.
Overall well worth the investment of time and I will listen over and over.

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  • Jed B
  • 2017-01-13

Difficult to absorb

Deep & simple. Best savored in small bites. A Christian intro to meditation as prayer.

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  • LuvOthers
  • 2014-12-31

Great

This is the second time I have listened to this book. It was as good as the first time. The reader was excellent. Would love to hear more books read by her.

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  • Josh
  • 2018-02-13

Deep thoughts

I am not familiar with Contemplative practice. This book has stretched me. I certainly plan to listen/read again and gain more insight into silence and contemplative prayer.

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  • Morgan Murray
  • 2018-02-02

Extraordinary wisdom, beautifully read

This is incredibly accessible, full of helpful images and practical guidance. A must read for any Christian wanting to explore contemplative practice.

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  • I'm all ears
  • 2017-07-15

A Masterpiece of Spiritual Insight!

Wise, deep, insightful, this slim volume gives the best overview of Christian contemplation (or meditation) I have yet come upon. Despite its slender size it manages to be both comprehensive and profound, combining a surprisingly thorough overview of the history of Christian contemplation with an in-depth description of its practical application — including a truly brilliant account of how to embrace the many hurdles encountered along this path in a way that leads to further growth.

Read it and give it a try. It will open a whole new world.

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  • Magda
  • 2017-02-14

Excellent book on Contemplation!

Would you consider the audio edition of Into the Silent Land to be better than the print version?

I read this book and I listened to it. Both versions are excellent.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Martin Laird understands that everyone - no exception - can contemplate.

Which scene was your favorite?

I love the authors humor! It's not a dry book with instructions on how to meditate but it has examples from life.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, I wouldn't want to listen to the book all in one sitting because I wanted to digest some of the information I have heared.

Any additional comments?

Highly recommend it to anyone who is seriously thinking to embark on contemplation in the Christian spirit.

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  • Elias Rademacher
  • 2020-04-05

Outstanding Book on Christian Contemplation

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and learned a lot that I'm sure will really help me in my spiritual journey. In many modern teachings on Christian Contemplation, a lot of Buddhist lingo gets mixed in. There's nothing wrong with this, but it makes it hard to know what teachings are coming from Buddhist influence, and which ones actually are rooted in Christian tradition. Martin Laird includes an explanation in the beginning of the book saying that, while many religions/traditions have great things to say about contemplation, this book sticks to the Christian traditions. And he stays true to this. The book is chalk full of quotations from the works of great Christian contemplatives of the past, including St John of the Cross, Theresa of Avila, the author of the Cloud of Unknowing, Evagrius Ponticus, Hesychios, Diadochos of Photiki, and many more.

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  • wlben
  • 2020-03-13

The Silent Land

Very well done. A little too slow for me so I bumped it up 20%. I'm sure I will be listening to this one many more times.