The Rev. Dr. Martin Laird: On quelling the inner chatter that disrupts our lives

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on October 21, 2010

Into the Silent Land book cover

The Rev. Dr. Martin Laird calls it “inner chatter” – a kind of inner commentary  that we’re always playing and where our attention is riveted, so much so that it shapes a sense of who we are and what life is about.

“It’s part of the human condition and it causes a lot of suffering,” says Dr. Laird. “The constant stream of noise gets in the way of inner peace.”

Dr. Laird, who is an associate professor of Early Christianity and Spirituality at Villanova University will be explaining how to rid ourselves of all this inner chaos at a conference, Silencing the Inner Chatter: Christian Meditation Today, at Trinity Church in Menlo Park this Saturday, Oct. 23.

“Books like mine sell so well because people long for inner peace,” says Laird, author of Into the Silent Land. “We’ve learned from neuroscience that our bodies respond positively to the silence, as example blood pressure is lowered.”

The conference on Saturday is the first of a series at Trinity. Noted author Diana Butler Bass, will be appearing on January 22. “Trinity Conferences are designed to bring notable speakers to Menlo Park who can speak to a range of topics related to faith and spirituality in ways that are relevant to people in many different places in their spiritual journeys,” says Trinity rector the Rev. Matthew Dutton-Gillett.  “My hope is that they will become a way both of nurturing our own congregation and offering something of value to the larger community.”

Dr. Laird says the practice of meditation to quell inner chatter is not just for the religious. “One problem with religions is that they present themselves as a bundle of beliefs rather than a spiritual path,” he says.

Nor is the subject of Saturday’s conference solely for people already familiar with meditation. “Even the most seasoned meditator is a beginner,” he says.  “The discipline of meditation helps go deeper into our selves. Most of us are aware we have issues that cause anxiety and intuitively grasp that there really is something to using meditation to silence the noise.”

The conference will be held from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm on the Trinity campus at 330 Ravenswood Avenue in Menlo Park. The $15 fee includes lunch. Registration is available online or by calling the church office at (650) 326-2083.

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