After burning out at my old job, I’ve recently stepped into a new one that will hopefully allow me to prioritize the things I care about most in life – God, loved ones, and catching up on fun tv. Part of creating Halbs 3.0 has involved reconnecting to things I used to love doing, especially physical exercise and spiritual practices focused on being still and silent. Into the Silent Land was recommended to me by a colleague, and after reading it I could see why. While Laird’s prose isn’t exactly easy to follow, it is powerful.
The author provides some historical context to show that Christianity, like other world religions, has long has a strain of the faith emphasizing silence, solitude, mediation, and other quiet practices designed to help the practitioner understand more of ultimate reality and one’s one role and posture within the world. He also provides a guide, in a way, into the practice of contemplation. It’s not a step-by-step instructional book, or even a rough map, so much as the idea that in this “silent land” everyone finds their own way and connection to something greater.
What appealed to me most in the book is the idea that you don’t have to go seeking God, or complete some sort of steps or reach some new spiritual level to be close to God. You just realize that God is already everywhere, and that you’re part of God. It’s a lot less doing and achieving, and a lot more releasing and being.
It’s the kind of book that once you finish, you want to immediately flip back to the beginning to start reading again. I’m not sure I understood all of it, yet, but I do think I’ll be revisiting it. If the book sounds intriguing but you want something less dense, I’d recommend Henri Nouwen’s The Way of the Heart.