Sunday, 19 December 2010

Lectio Divina

Lectio divina has four steps: reading, meditation, prayer and contemplation. The reading stage involves critical engagement with the text, analysing its meanings and metaphors. The meditation stage involves dwelling on the images that particularly resonate with you. This could be developed into a visualisation or journey into the scene described.

Lectio divina seems like a valuable technique for solo spiritual practice. And what books might you choose? I recommend Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins, or the Tao Te Ching. There's lots of wonderful poetry out there, too. I'm sure you can think of your own examples.

The prayer part is difficult for me - I find petitionary prayer (asking the Divine, or deities, for things or qualities) meaningless and stupid. It's hard to ask a being whom you do not believe to be omnipotent or interested in your trivial problems for stuff. For this part, you could substitute focussing on the qualities you would like to develop (if, like me, you have a problem with asking for stuff). Or perhaps a bit of sympathetic magic.

Finally, contemplation - wordless communion with the universe, the Divine, or your chosen deity. This part works fine for me. I think it's always worth trying to see the Divine as immanent in all that is around us, too. Just relax and see the glow and sparkle in everything.

More about Lectio Divina
The Naked Theologian: God - only four steps away
Quaker Pagan Reflections: Another Kind of Lectio Divina?
UU Wellspring: Lectio Divina: a spiritual practice for Unitarian Universalists, by Tina Simson

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