Prayer is an art that cannot just be taught. It must be experienced, lived, and practiced. In Prayer in the Cave of the Heart, Cyprian Consiglio draws on his experience as a Camaldolese monk to give readers an accessible reflection on prayer that is based on Bede Griffith's "universal call to contemplation." In this text, the contemplative traditions of East and West intersect to invite readers into prayer that makes them "present to the Spirit who is already present to us."
An accomplished musician who writes, performs, and records music using texts drawn from various sacred traditions, Fr. Cyprian has a conversational writing style that makes his book extremely accessible for those who want to deepen their understanding of contemplative prayer but tend to shy away from more scholarly approaches. `I like to think of myself as someone who took really good notes in class and is sharing them with all his friends,' he says in the preface to his book (vii). Readers who want to bone up on how other traditions can help strengthen the contemplative dimension of their own faith are fortunate to have such a classmate.
Trish Day, Cistercian Studies Quarterly
Cyprian Consiglio is a very contemporary monk, who believes that the call to contemplation is universal and sees the current interest in Eastern spirituality as an incentive to seek the way of interiority within the Christian tradition. This approach must be greeted with delight, particularly as he brings with him the words of such as Origen, Bede Griffiths, Sri Aurobindo, Swami Abhishiktananda, and Simone Weil, and supports his arguments with wisdom from the Fourth Gospel, the Upanishads, Buddhism, and Taoism. A cornucopia of richness and delight and a fitting book for our time.
Shirley du Boulay
Author of Beyond the Darkness: A Biography of Bede Griffiths and The Cave of the Heart: The Life of Swami Abhishiktananda
This book is a veritable education in the Christian tradition of contemplative prayer. Readers with a more conventional background in Christianity will find both a refreshing perspective on their tradition along with meaty excerpts from the eastern religions to enrich their journey to the cave of the heart.
It's not easy to talk about the Christian mystical tradition in universal terms without resorting to syncretism, but in Prayer in the Cave of the Heart, Camaldolese monk Cyprian Consiglio takes on the challenge with great love and shining integrity. Prayer in the Cave of the Heart is clearly the fruit of serious scholarly inquiry, courageous pilgrimage, and a humble, disciplined life of unceasing prayer. In this invitingly simple but richly packed guide to the Christian via negativa, Consiglio holds out the hope that we, too, can find our way through narrow gate that leads to contemplation.
Author of Forgiveness: Following Jesus into Radical Loving
Prayer in the Cave of the Heart is a resource of tremendous potential for spiritual directors of various traditions, people interested in contemplative prayer, and anyone who seeks to grasp deep truths about prayer. I have read from it as I facilitate a centering prayer group and have recommended it to several people with whom I meet as a spiritual director.
Greg Richardson, Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction