"Virtually every spiritual tradition that holds a vision of human transformation at its heart also claims that a practice of intentional silence is non-negotiable. You just have to do it. Whether it be the meditation of the yogic and Buddhist traditions, the zikr of the Sufis, the devkut of mystical Judaism, or the contemplative prayer of the Christians, there is universal affirmation that this form of spiritual practice is essential to spiritual awakening.

"When I talk about 'transformation' and 'awakening,' incidentally, I should make clear that I am not using New Age terminology. I am speaking of 'You must be born from above.' (John 3:7 NRSV), or 'Unless a grain of wheat fall into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit' (John 12:24), or perhaps most pointedly: 'For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for me will find it' (Matthew 16:24-25). Among the worldwide religions, Christianity is surely one of those most urgently and irrevocably set upon the total transformation of the human person. And while it's true that we don't have pictures of Jesus teaching meditation practice exactly — this can be read between the lines fairly easily on any number of occasions and more important, derived theologically.

"Like most of the great spiritual masters of our universe, Jesus taught from the conviction that we human beings are victims of a tragic case of mistaken identity. The person I normally take myself to be — that busy, anxious little 'I' so preoccupied with its goals, fears, desires, and issues — is never even remotely the whole of who I am, and to seek the fulfillment of my life at this level means to miss out on the bigger life. This is why, according to his teaching, the one who tries to keep his 'life' (i.e., the small one) will lose it, and the one who is willing to lose it will find the real thing. Beneath the surface there is a deeper and vastly more authentic Self, but its presence is usually veiled by the clamor of the smaller 'I' with its insatiable needs and demands."

"This confusion between small self and larger Self (variously known in the traditions as 'True Self,' 'Essential Self,' or 'Real I') is the core illusion of the human condition, and penetrating this illusion is what awakening is all about.”