Monday, October 06, 2008

lectio divina

As I begin to read the new book, Lectio Divina, I find that an air of familiarity surrounds me. “This is what I do,” my internal voice says. And then the ego side pipes up and says, “Oh you think you know everything. Don’t you see how that closes the door to possibility?” It is a wonder that I can even get past the first page as my inner dialogue carries on a full-blown conversation! And then I read the words “hold this lightly.” Ahhhh, I can feel a sense of peace come over me for a moment, and then I am reminded of the opposite of holding lightly. It is grasping.

Buddhism speaks of the grasping mind and how it keeps us from peace and serenity. When we grasp our desires strongly, there is a driven quality that arises. Anxiety, jealousy, rigidity and insecurity all become stronger. So, as I consider lectio divina (an ancient prayer form which translates as ‘holy reading’) I wonder how I can hold lightly to the structure. How can I keep myself free of the arrogant sense of knowing and therefore leave myself open to new possibilities? Paintner and Wynkoop speak of a flowing rhythm and I wonder how this translates into my current practice of prayer.

I read. Contemplate. Meditate. Act. It flows. I move. I listen. I find myself open to possibility. Open to hearing. Do I express my gratitude? Do I allow myself to sit with God—resting in holy presence? The piece that has been missing for me recently is Scripture. I have chosen to use other “texts”: music, nature, blogs, poetry and sacred readings. Do I attend them with holy listening? Am I open to what they say? I am formed and informed through the listening. I often do not remember details, but rather have an overall sense of what I have taken in. I have breathed the experience (the text) in and let it permeate my being.

I hear the voice of arrogance once again in my head. “You think you are so special.” Yikes! Hold lightly. Do not grasp. Be grateful. Thankful to be able to breathe in and out. It is a great paradox. Letting go so the words may come. Losing my life so I may find it. Letting go to receive. Stop moving so I can just be.

Do you have these battles of the mind? Does your ego strive to overcome your stillness? Where do you find yourself grasping? Where do you need to let go or show gratitude? What does your 'holy reading' look like?

collage by lucy

12 comments:

Sue said...

Thank you for letting us into your internal battle. Yes, I have these all the time. So often they are very subtle things that say, like you, "You think you're so special" or "Who do you think you are?" or "You're being selfish". Where does that silliness come from?

Funny, that the ego spends so much time accusing me of being egotistical. Heh :)

Tess said...

Oh, those inner battles!
I think Sue's right, the ego is rather ready to accuse.
Perhaps it comes down to:
'I think I'm so special' AND I really am special. And so are you.

Kate I said...

This is a beautiful collage Lucy!

Oh, the internal dialogue and the circle it spins us in! I don't mind the dialogue so much, it's when I have the same one...over and over and over...I find my obsessing quite boring yet letting it go can be like peeling old wallpaper off the wall, an inch at a time.

Laure said...

my spiritual disciplines are centering prayer, breath prayer, movement as prayer and lectio. i don't enter into lectio until i've done some centering and/or breath prayer. i need to slow down and those prayer forms help me do that. they help me quiet myself so i can receive from God's word. in my spiritual practices, i am forming, in tiny increments, an ability to let the chatter (whatever it is about) move along. i'm finding a teensy weensy bit of success in not getting hooked like a fish by my thoughts and feelings. practice, practice and more practice is what it comes down to.

Caroline said...

Oh yes the EGO! Ugh! The ego creates all kinds of chaos in my life. I am getting better at not listening to that little booger...but it's hard. I really try and follow my heart...what "feels" right. The ego always wants to disagree and place fear in my path... I work very hard to keep the ego at bay (I think we all do!). Meditation and mindfulness practices help a lot!

differenceayearmakes said...

I've recently tried this experiment where I wrote down all the negative feelings that were swamping me - and then - I turned them around - I wrote them from their positive side - a sort of negative/positive reverse. You know it worked....my negative side have free reign and then at the end I turned them around and was left with the positive over the negative. Hmmm, does any of that make sense? Sometimes you gotta get in there and wrestle. Because isn't that what "the bad guy" does, take something normal or positive and just twist it slightly....

Barbara said...

My mind jumps to unresolved issues, people I know, my frustrations at myself. I go back to my prayer word and breathe deeply. There is nothing you can DO about this. Ultimately, you relax into God and float. If the waters are too choppy some days, admit you have no control over the water and put it on God's shoulders to handle for you today.

Yolanda said...

I love this collage and your take on this and I can so identify with this post.

storyteller said...

Like Yolanda and others who have already commented here, your collage and post ‘resonate’ mightily today … (and continuing with the comment I left on the previous post) your references to Buddhism take me back to the unfinished Wellness Wednesday post in my drafts folder because I’ve been using links to Buddhist resources found at Cheerio Road recently along with lessons from ACIM (and other favorite writers) to ‘quiet my mind’ … As I type this, I’m feeling reassured that I’m not the only one. Thanks …
Hugs and blessings,

Gabriella Moonlight said...

This is a most amazing post! I thank you so much for this post and if you don't mind would like to add you to my blog roll! Thank you!

I do have the spiral of thoughts up and down, the ego inserts its insidious pieces and I work to let them go!

Ugh...

In gratitude,
G

Kel said...

lucy, i think i've said it before here, my holy reading looks a lot like yours

reading can be a verb that is not related to text on a page or screen

one can read the weather
the native animals
other people

martie said...

Beautiful post! It has certainly struck a cord with me today.