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John Main understood that the remedy for the malaise that affects individuals and nations alike was the love of Christ. He taught that when we build our lives on the rock-like foundation of this love, we become rooted in the ultimate reality, and the winds and storms of life, and even death itself, no longer have power over us. In the short chapters of this book, he shows how we can find the way to this foundation and root ourselves in the eternal love that nothing can destroy. The way is simplicity itself, but it is also a way of dispossession. Daily meditation brings us to the place where our lives become wholly immersed in the Spirit of God, but it requires that we come empty handed and prepared to walk the way of unknowing.
A marvellously readable translation of the great Middle English classic of Christian mysticism. Now part of the beautifully designed Shambhala Pocket Library collection. This anonymous fourteenth-century text is the glory of English mysticism, and one of the most practical and useful guides to finding union with God ever written. Carmen Acevedo Butcher's new translation is the first to bring the text into a modern English idiom--while remaining strictly faithful to the meaning of the original Middle English. The Cloud of Unknowing consists of a series of letters written by a monk to his student or disciple, instructing him (or her) in the way of Divine union. Its theology is presented in a way that is remarkably easy to understand, as well as practical, providing advice on prayer and contemplation that anyone can use. Previous translations of the Cloud have tended to veil its intimate, even friendly tone under medieval-sounding language. Carmen Butcher has boldly brought the text into language as appealing to modern ears as it was to its original readers more than five hundred years ago.
For centuries, mystics have groped for words in which to account for the supreme reality of this experience which not only illuminates a man's mind and fills his heart with new strength, but even radically transforms his whole life. All this is said in classic and unforgettable pages by TheCloud of Unknowing, the work of an anonymous fourteenth-century English writer.
THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING and THE BOOK OF PRIVY COUNSELING are the first explorations in the English language of the soul’s quest for God. Written in Middle English by an unknown fourteenth-century mystic, THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING expresses with beauty a message that has inspired such great religious thinkers as St. John of the Cross and Teilhard de Chardin, as well as countless others in search of God. Offering a practical guide to the life of contemplation, the author explains that ordinary thoughts and earthly concepts must be buried beneath a “cloud of forgetting,” while our love must rise toward a God hidden in the “cloud of unknowing.” THE BOOK OF PRIVY COUNSELING, also included in this volume, is a short and moving text on the way to enlightenment through a total loss of self and a consciousness only of the divine. William Johnston, an authority on fourteenth-century mysticism and spirituality, provides an accessible discussion of the works, detailing what is known about the history of the texts and their author. In a new foreword, Huston Smith draws on his extensive knowledge of the varieties of religious experience to illuminate the relevance of these works for contemporary readers.
Written by an anonymous English monk during the late fourteenth century, 'The Cloud of Unknowing' holds an important place in the history of both Western literature and spirituality. Though originally intended for a select audience, the work's simple, engaging style has won it widespread popularity since it rediscovery more than century ago. 'The Cloud' puts forth a method of contemplation that stresses the impotence of the understanding to break through the cloud of unknowing that separates God and humanity. Rather, 'it is love alone that can reach God in this life.'
Those who turn to spiritual classics for guidance and inspiration often find their style daunting. The original texts still have much to offer but their diction and idiom, chosen for another era and audience, pose an obstacle to many contemporary readers. The Cloud of Unknowing for Everyone is the latest in a series that aims to make some of the greatest Christian teachers accessible to all. The Cloud of Unknowing, written by an unknown fourteenth century author, points out that all we can know of God is slight; God in Godself is unknowable to our limited intellect and thought. Only love can bridge the gap, love like an arrow of longing simple, straightforward and direct. All who feel called to a life of prayer will be captivated by the balanced, precise and practical insights of The Cloud. In her retelling of this classic, Obbard invites contemporary readers to join previous generations who have discovered the riches of this classic text.
Centering Prayer is a modern adaptation of the ancient practice of contemplative prayer, a process of inner purification and an opening of the mind and heart to God. In this remarkable book, Jens Soering, an inmate in a Virginia prison, tells how Centering Prayer and its corollary, Centering Practice--contemplative prayer in action--enable him to survive the daily pain of prison life. Through a moving true story of personal redemption that shocks and inspires, Soering shows how we can all transform our crosses, our prisons (literal or metaphorical), into the means of our salvation.

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