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