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We 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.

In 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 world within.

A 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.

Excerpt from "Walking" by Henry David Thoreau

Excerpt from The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Excerpt from The Story of the Other Wise Man by Henry van Dyke


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