live in an age of information. We are subtly and not so subtly
coerced through the television, the media, the Internet, to consume
more and more, more and more rapidly. The technological tools
have put us into a mode of speed – we actually start trying
to approach the soaking up of information at a rate similar to
a computer processing data. Even with the printed word, we have
become habituated to reading quickly in an effort to absorb information
in the shortest amount of time possible so we can move on to
the next responsibility spread before us. Or, we become so engrossed
by the action and emotion of a story that our reading is as agitated
as our pumping, pounding heart.
such a fast-paced environment the slow savoring of ideas and
concepts has gotten lost in the push for quickness and efficiency.
The practice of spiritual reading is one way to regain a more
balanced and meaningful interaction with the world around us.
It can help us slow down so that information is allowed to seep
unhurriedly into our heart, our mind, our soul, where it can
be turned over and tasted like a fine well-aged wine. Spiritual
reading is a ‘practice’ because it is counter-intuitive
to our familiar form of reading. It is a form of meditation and
reflection that calms a thumping heart to a gentle and silent
beat. It is an exercise less concerned with swallowing everything
before us, than with chewing small savory morsels that can actually
work to change us from the inside out. A slow small meal of information
becomes more nourishing to us than a feast eaten on the run.
Surprisingly, the action of slowing our intake of information
helps us slacken our pace as we walk through the world without – the
Process for Spiritual Reading:
Excerpt from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry
"The Spring," from Meditation Without Gurus by Clark Strand. Copyright ©2003 Clark Strand.
from "Walking" by Henry David
from The Brothers Karamazov by
Excerpt from The Story of the Other Wise Man by Henry van Dyke