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Oasis - Spiritual Reading

Oasis-Spiritual Reading


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Spiritual Reading Process

1. Sit quietly for at least two minutes paying attention to the movement of your breath and the steady beat of your heart. Imagine the charged thoughts in your mind becoming as still as a soundless pond under the reflection of the sun. As you feel your mind becoming more settled and silent, notice the presence of the Holy One around you, and let yourself rest in that presence.

2. Begin to read the material before you slowly and deliberately. Whisper the words or phrases that attract your heart. Linger over them, waiting for them to empty themselves over your mind and soul. You might ask the words what they really want to say to you, and then wait patiently for their reply.

3. You may be tempted to move quickly to the next sentence, but try to remain with what you have read – turning it over in your mind, looking for nuances, chewing it as a cow chews a cud. When you feel the words have nothing more to give you, begin to read again.

4. Continue this process for the time allotted. You may find that you read through an entire chapter, or perhaps only one small paragraph. The amount of text covered is unimportant. The encounter and dialogue with the text is what is critical.

5. Say a prayer of thanksgiving to heaven for the wonder of knowledge and the gift of wisdom. Sit in silence to see if God has a response to make to you.

6. Spend a few minutes recording in your journal a few of your new learnings or the questions that have emerged from your reading and reflection.

7. End your journal entry with the one short thought that you will carry with you throughout the day.

Meditation Without Gurus
"The Spring"

by Clark Strand

Once many years ago my college girlfriend and I went hiking in the mountains. After walking a long way, we stopped for lunch beside a small spring-fed lake. We had brought food, but nothing to drink. When I complained about this and wanted to head back, she said it wasn't necessary. There was water all around.

I looked at the pond and found nothing very appetizing about the condition of the water. Moreover, as a child I had been indoctrinated against drinking pond water by countless camp counselors and scoutmasters. But Sally slipped out of her clothes and waded right into the lake. She would swim underwater for twenty or thirty seconds, coming up in a different place each time. Finally, she emerged from a place about ten yards from the far shore and shouted, "Here it is."

I wasn't sure what she meant, but I took off my own clothes and swam to where she was. She took my hand and we swam down a dozen or so feet until a wave of cool water struck my face. She had found the spring that fed the lake.

Years later I discovered that our minds are just the same. Quite often the surface looks green and murky, but at bottom there is something clear. Sally had found the spring by swimming in the direction of the coolest water. You can find clarity the same way when you meditate.

When you notice you are sleepy, simply stay with that thought. The part of your mind that notices you are sleepy is, by definition, the part that is the most awake. After a few moments of thinking how sleepy you are, you will find your mind is much more

Excerpted from Meditation without Gurus. Copyright ©2003 by Clark Strand. It is used with permission from Skylight Paths.

Clark Strand is a former Zen Buddhist monk and a contributing editor of Tricycle:The Buddhist Review. The author of Seeds from a Birch Tree: Writing Haiku and the Spiritual Journey, he currently leads the Koans of the Bible Study Group in Woodstock, New York.

Meditation without Gurus Book Cover
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