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An Ocean of Light: Contemplation, Transformation, and Liberation

An Ocean of Light: Contemplation, Transformation, and Liberation

by Martin Laird


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For people drawn to a life of contemplation, the dawning of luminous awareness in a mind full of clutter is deeply liberating. In the third of his best-selling books on Christian contemplative life, Martin Laird turns his attention to those who are well settled in their contemplative practice.

An Ocean of Light speaks both to those just entering the contemplative path and to those with a maturing practice of contemplation. Gradually, the practice of contemplation lifts the soul, freeing it from the blockages that introduce confusion into our identity and thus confusion about the mystery we call God. In the course of a lifetime of inner silencing, the flower of awareness emerges: a living realization that we have never been separate from God or from the rest of humanity while we each fully become what each of us is created to be. In contemplation we become so silent before God that the "before" drops away. Those whose lives have led them deeply into the silent land realize this, but not in the way that we realize that the square root of 144 is 12.

Laird draws from a wide and diverse range of writers—from St. Augustine, Evagrius Ponticus, and St. Teresa of Avila to David Foster Wallace, Flannery O'Connor, Virginia Woolf, and Franz Wright—to ground his insight in an ancient practice and give it a voice in contemporary language. With his characteristic lyricism and gentleness, Laird guides readers through new challenges of contemplative life, such as making ourselves the focus of our own contemplative project; dealing with old pain; transforming the isolation of loneliness and depression into a liberating solidarity with all who suffer; and the danger of using a spiritual practice as a strategy to acquire and control.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199379941
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 12/07/2018
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 337,501
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Martin Laird, O.S.A, is Professor of Early Christian Studies at Villanova University. Laird is the author of several books on Early Christian thought and Christian contemplative life, including Into the Silent Land and A Sunlit Absence. He lectures widely through the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ireland.

Table of Contents


Part I
Chapter 1 - Contemplation and the Human Condition
Chapter 2 - Silence Shining like the Sun

Part II
Chapter 3 - Distant Echoes of Home: Reactive Mind
Chapter 4 - A Brilliance Dimly Lit: Receptive Mind
Chapter 5 - An Ocean of Light: Luminous Mind

Part III
Chapter 6 - Our Uninvited Guests: Depression
Chapter 7 - Our Uninvited Guests: Old Pain
Chapter 8 - Our Uninvited Guests: Loneliness


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