Have you established a daily reflections practice?
Actually, that’s a trick question. You already have one. The question is, what are saturating yourself with? Remember the old saying “Garbage in, garbage out?” The opposite is also true. Wisdom in, wisdom out (hopefully, eventually, over time.) What are you exposing yourself to on any given day through the media, Internet, books? Are you saturating yourself with the best or worst vision of human nature?
Neuropsychologists know that what we hold in mind affects a profound cascade of very real neurochemistry. What you dwell on affects your body, your mood and your responses to life.
Strategy of the Spirit #9: “Saturate Thyself”
It means making a conscious choice to “program yourself” for a better vision of life. This can be done in a variety of ways. A lectio divina practice is one of them.
Lectio Divina is a classic wisdom practice.
Lectio practice (daily reflections reading) was developed at a time when the written word was the major source of codified knowledge. (Modern day “lectio” practice can also include more than book reading, because now we have an avalanche of wisdom at the touch of our keyboards. I have an entire Pinterest Board dedicated to positive visual images called Saturate Thyself. )For this post, however, I’m going to focus on daily reflection books. Unlike the fast paced information overwhelm we are bombarded with today, Lectio Divina is a practice based on the principle “less is more." It means taking a moment to soak deeply in one brief sound byte of wisdom. Reflecting on it. Allowing it to change you and your responses to life.
It consists of four steps:
- READ. Slowly read a selected passage. Re-read it “listening with your heart”. Notice the word or phrases that speak to you today.
- REFLECT. Read the passage again, slowly. Take the time to consider how this passage connects to your life…what it means to you.
- RESPOND. Consider how this passage may be asking you to act differently.
- REMAIN. Sit silently, in stillness allowing this message to sink in. Invite Grace into your life.
Here are three books that we use here at home:
Words to Live By: Short Readings of Daily Wisdom by Eknath Easwaran
Our dog-eared copy of this has travelled with us for years. Short quotes of wisdom and poetry from all traditions with comments from a master teacher.
Illuminated Life: Monastic Wisdom for Seekers of Light by Joan Chittester
An “alphabet” of classic wisdom. We introduce synchronicity each day by choosing an alphabet letter from a Scrabble Slam Cards deck to invite random inspiration.
Living Presence: A Sufi Way to Mindfulness & the Essential Self by Kabir Helmsinki
I re-read this every year when I am on vacation and dip into it often.
Have you ever heard the saying "any man who has himself for a lawyer has a fool for a client"? The same principle applies to anyone who relies solely on the feedback loop of their own opinions, experiences and perceptions. Why not access the "wisdom of the ages" that can help free you from the reactive, primitive "monkey mind"? Most of what is available through mainstream media will not help you become a more realized, evolved person. You have to seek out and choose to saturate yourself in a higher vision.
Will you share your favorite daily reflection books? What has this practice meant to you? What interferes with it? (I’ll be asking about online options in a later post.)