Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The doorway into the silent land…

The doorway into the silent land is a wound. Silence lays bear this wound. We do not journey far along the spiritual path before we get some sense of the wound of the human condition, and this is precisely why not a few abandon a contemplative practice like mediation as soon as it begins to expose this wound; they move on instead to some spiritual entertainment that will maintain distraction. Perhaps this is why the weak and wounded, who know very well the vulnerability of the human condition, often have an aptitude for discovering silence and can sense the wholeness and healing that ground this wound…

Certainly there is deep conversion, healing, and unspeakable wholeness to be discovered along the contemplative path. The paradox, however, is that this healing is revealed when we discover that our wound and the wound of God are one wound…

However, this discovery does not feel as much like a breakthrough as it feels like breakdown. This is actually a very important and creative period in the development of our practice, but it feels as though our life is coming unpinned, that we’re losing it, that we are going round the bend… This is why for Christians the joyful faith in the Risen One never loses sight of the Crucified One.

God in Christ has taken into Himself the brokenness of the human condition. Hence, human woundedness, brokenness, death itself are transformed from dead ends to doorways into Life. In the divinizing humanity of Christ, bruises become balm…

Martin Laird OSA, Into the Silent Land, Darton, Longman and Todd, 2006, pp. 117-119

But he was wounded for our transgressions,
   crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
   and by his bruises we are healed.

Isaiah 53.5 NRSV

All I can say here, for holy reticence, is that I have found this to be true…


  1. Probably best to not say too many words and spoil this :)

    You are one of my favourite places to visit.

    I was gonna say not many words but I just thought of this. I am reading The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying at the moment, which is like a book written to help Westerners understand the Tibetan Book of the Dead. There is much of beauty in this book, much head nodding from me, much help, much wisdom, much learning. I especially love the suggstion that people find the spiritual path that inspires them the most and follow that one. Better to be well learned and well versed in one spritiual tradition than spiritual shopping after all. I think this is because the Father makes himself known wherever he can, regardless of doctrine or rightness or wrongness. We are all wrong in that sense, I suppose.

    But reading this book renews again my appreciation for the Father that I do believe is there. There is so much beauty in Buddhism, and I do believe it is simply seeing the giant elephant from a differnet vantage point. But the lack of God is too lonely after a while.

  2. That's a beautiful quote from Martin Laird, Mike.

    "...this healing is revealed when we discover that our wound and the wound of God are one wound…"

    And when we enter that wound, we find the safety and healing within His Sacred Heart.

  3. I can only echo Gabrielle's appreciation for the quote. Thank you so much for sharing it, Mike. You opened me to another great spiritual writer.