Study And Research

There are many books available on the subject of contemplative prayer. Here are some suggestions for just three, which are all available from online sources and most bookshops. These reviews are contributed by a member of the Fellowship of Contemplative Prayer.

Into the Silent Land  - The Practice of Contemplation       by Martin Laird 

This is an exceptional and beautiful book.    Martin Laird takes his readers through the practice of contemplation and silent prayer in a fresh, practical way, emphasising the importance of finding the inner place of silence and how to clear the mind of distractions. 

He is particularly helpful when dealing with the distractions, inner fears and anxieties that can hinder us and get in the way, obscuring the silent land within. He explains how one can come to terms with their reality, and overcome them. He gives telling examples, using real life stories of people who have come through their fears and obsessions to discover liberation and freedom. It is by passing through the 'Three Doorways' with the use of the prayer word, that the veil caused by distractions and emotions that so often plague us, is lifted, and the inner, luminous landscape within each human being, is revealed.   Martin Laird also writes about the wound in all human beings that can become a well of compassion, and how it is possible to become a witness as opposed to being a victim.  

This book is an absolute gem and will appeal to all who are journeying along the path of contemplative prayer.  Into the Silent Land is published by Darton, Longman and Todd and the price is £10.95.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

A Sunlit Absence     by Martin Laird

In this companion volume to 'Into the Silent Land', Martin Laird takes us further on our journey of discovering the 'silent land' within us.  He describes "the vast and flowing spaciousness that embraces both silence and sound, and transcends all dualisms of subject and object".  Drawing on the writings of some of the great contemplatives, such as Teresa of Avila and others, he shows "how we can uncover the deeper levels of awareness that rest within us like buried treasure waiting to be found".   He goes deeper into solving the distractions that sometimes overwhelm us, and sees our difficulties as "opportunities to practice surrender to what is".   With clarity and grace, he shows how we can "move away from identifying with our turbulent, ever-changing thoughts and emotions to the cultivation of a 'sunlit absence',   the luminous awareness in which God's presence can be most profoundly felt".   This is another beautiful and inspiring book, written with simplicity that we can connect with.    A Sunlit Absence is published by Oxford University Press, and priced at £12.95


Finding your Hidden Treasure - The Way of Silent Prayer    by Bennignus 0'Rourke 0SA

 Bennignus 0'Rourke is an Augustinian Friar and a member of the Community at Clare Priory in Suffolk. He has been leading people in the way of silent prayer for more than 40 years.  
 Most chapters in this book are just over a page in length and arranged thematically in sections. Each chapter addresses a crucial threshold along the spiritual path.  The headings of the sections include our "Lost Treasure"; "Jesus the Teacher Within", "How God heals our Brokenness", "The Fruits of Silence" and "Our Return Journey".  Bennignus O'Rourke writes "The most important journey in life is the journey inward, to the depths of our own being.  It is a journey we are all invited to make. It takes us beyond words and images into silence.  The silence allows the restless mind to become still and in the stillness we enter a new world. We return to our hearts.  Here we find our true selves. We discover an ancient way of finding God that has almost become lost.  Slowly we realise that we are in union with the source of life and love itself; our whole life changes.  Our goal now is to take God's love to others in our everyday lives".   This is a wonderfully helpful and inspiring book to pick up at any time.  Finding Your Hidden Treasure is published by DLT (UK) and is priced at £9.95. 

If you are interested in the foundation documents of the Fellowship of Contemplative Prayer, there are books written by the founder of the Fellowship, Robert Coulson. These, and others listed below, are available from the Administrator

On Course in Contemplation
A selection of Robert Coulson's annual letters 1960-1980... [more]
Into God
By the founder of the Fellowship, Robert Coulson... [more]
The Threefold Reality
By the founder of the Fellowship, Robert Coulson... [more]
I AM: the exercise of supreme sovereignty
By the founder of the Fellowship, Robert Coulson... [more]
Spirit and Life
The official biography of Robert Coulson, written by Martin Tunnicliff... [more]
Within Thy Silence
A successor to More Words for Contemplation, edited by Martin Tunnicli... [more]