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Oasis - Spiritual Reading

Oasis-Spiritual Reading


explore faith : Meditate with Books - Walking by Henry David Thoreau

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.

From Walking
By Henry David Thoreau

When we walk, we naturally go to the fields and woods: what would become of us, if we walked only in a garden or a mall? Even some sects of philosophers have felt the necessity of importing the woods to themselves, since they did not go to the woods. … Of course it is of no use to direct our steps to the woods, if they do not carry us thither. I am alarmed when it happens that I have walked a mile into the woods bodily, without getting there in spirit. In my afternoon walk I would fain forget all my morning occupations and my obligations to society. But it sometimes happens that I cannot easily shake off the village. The thought of some work will run in my head and I am not where my body is – I am out of my senses. In my walks I would fain return to my senses. What business have I in the woods, if I am thinking of something out of the woods? I suspect myself, and cannot help a shudder, when I find myself so implicated even in what are called good words – for this may sometimes happen. …

Henry David ThoreauAbove all, we cannot afford not to live in the present. He is blessed over all mortals who loses no moment of the passing life in remembering the past. Unless our philosophy hears the cock crow in every barnyard within our horizon, it is belated. That sound commonly reminds us that we are growing rusty and antique in our employments and habits of thought. His philosophy comes down to a more recent time than ours. There is something suggested by it that is a newer testament – the gospel according to this moment. He has not fallen astern; he had got up early and kept up early, and to be where he is is to be in season, in the foremost rank of time. It is an expression of the health and soundness of Nature, a brag for all the world – healthiness as of a spring burst forth, a new fountain of the Muses, to celebrate this last instant of time.
--"Walking" was published in the Atlantic Monthly after Thoreau's death.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was an American essayist, poet, and practical philosopher, renowned for his masterwork,
(1854), and for having been a vigorous advocate of civil liberties, as evidenced in the essay “Civil Disobedience” (1849).
--Encyclopedia Britannica online


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