John Main (1926 - 1992) discovered meditation in the East while working as a diplomat. He became a monk in a Benedictine monastery in London. Main later founded the Benedictine Priory of Montreal and established a spiritual family with the common goal of teaching meditation as a Christian tradition. Since his death, a worldwide communion of meditators, groups, and centers have come into being based on his ministry and vision.

This solid and substantive anthology of excerpts from Main's writings and speeches has been assembled by Laurence Freeman (Jesus: The Teacher Within), founder and spiritual guide of the World Community for Christian Meditation. He has edited many of Main's works. Freeman says of his mentor in the introduction: "His method was that of the desert fathers of fourth-century Egypt: teaching by example rather than prescription, affection and attention, personal rootedness, always offering the encouragement to persevere. Discipline was balanced with gentleness, structure with flexibility, predictability with spontaneity, friendship with self-reliance, idealism with pragmatism. He was always available."

Some of these sterling character attributes shine through the selections in this paperback. Main recommends twice daily meditation as an important spiritual discipline. He writes cogently about the use of the mantra "Maranatha" as an anchor in devotion. It is an Aramaic term meaning "Come, Lord." Main sees prayer not as talking to God or thinking about God but as being with the Holy One. The essential point is not dialogue but union and communion.

In one of the most important passages in this anthology, Main writes: "So many Christians seem to prefer a backward projection into the historical life of Christ and to be constantly locked in it. They lose contact with the living Christ, the risen Christ who lives now in our hearts. That seems to me to be one of the greatest Christian dangers: reducing your prayer to thinking about the historical life of Jesus. What we must do instead is to encounter the living Lord in our own hearts and then find him elsewhere." Meditation can deepen a relationship with Christ by mining the riches of silence, stillness, and simplicity. We were quite moved by Main's understanding of the divine primacy of love and his commentary on finding our true self. The inclusion of 100 of his sayings on prayer, God, and love is a final treat in this inspiring work.