Here is part two of yesterday’s Superhero Report. A selection of spiritual practices you can try. Keep trying until you find one that resonates with you….and if none of these do, then you might already be doing your spiritual practice, you just might not be calling it that: knitting, running, dancing, singing, listening to music, cooking, gardening, being in nature, drawing, painting, etc. etc. etc. Remember….anything that helps you connect with love, peace, joy, and leads you to your truth. 🙂
Lectio Divina is Latin for “divine reading,” “spiritual reading,” or “holy reading” and represents a method of prayer and scriptural reading intended to promote communion with God and to provide special spiritual insights. Traditionally, Lectio-Divina is practiced with sacred scripture, but can be applied to any inspirational or meaningful written text. Lectio Divina is accomplished in four steps, with the fourth step – contemplation – continuing beyond our practice time and flowing out into our day.
Lectio – Choose a scripture passage or inspirational written text. Read the passage gently and slowly several times, savoring each portion of the reading. As you are reading, look for a word or phrase that seems to jump out at you. Receive this word or phrase as God’s nourishment for you.
Meditatio – Reflect on the text of the passage and think about how it applies to one’s own life. Specifically, ruminate, ponder, meditate on the word or phrase that jumped out at you. Ask the question, “How is God speaking to me personally through this passage?”
Oratio – Respond to the passage by opening your heart to God. Allow yourself to have a conversation with God. Offer a silent or spoken prayer in response to God, or write your thoughts in a notebook or journal.
Contemplatio – Listening to God. This is a freeing of yourself from your own thoughts, both mundane and holy, and hearing God speak to you. Opening the mind, heart, and soul to the influence of God. Contemplatio is often done in silence or carried with you as you go about your day. Observe how your meditation period continues to influence your thoughts, behaviors, attitudes and feelings.
Centering Prayer/Silent Contemplation
Silent Contemplation is allowing yourself to simply rest in God. The goal of contemplation is “no goal.” Your job is to simply be. Repeated practice opens you to the fruits of contemplation – deepening peace, insight, creativity, guidance, consolation and compassion.
1)Find a comfortable place where you can sit in silence.
2)Choose a focal point – the breath, a sacred word or phrase (love, peace, Jesus, Om, etc.)
3)Now, sit in silence. When you find your mind wandering (which it will), simply return your attention to your chosen focal point.
4)Continue in this manner until your meditation period is finished.
Free-Form Journaling/Automatic Writing
Through this approach, you bring a question or a thought to your meditation session. Offer the question/thought to God. Then allow God to speak to you through your pen as you write in their journal.
1)Write your question in your journal.
2)Sit quietly to allow your own mind to step aside and invited God to step in.
3)If you find silence to be a struggle, listen to music first – preferably something that helps to relax your mind – chant, classical music, even some heavy metal music can be helpful. (I recommend Hildegard of Bingen, Bach and Disturbed or Tool as music for relaxing the mind.)
4)Then just write. Let your pen respond to your question. Or, begin a dialogue between yourself and God through your pen.
1)Choose a favorite sacred phrase/mantra. (Om Mani Padme Om; Hail Mary Full of Grace; Om Shanti; Give us this day our daily bread; Abwoon d’bwashmaya; etc.)
2)Repeat the mantra silently or aloud, over and over, allowing the mantra to draw you into a place of peaceful calm.
3)Continue repeating the mantra until you find it no longer necessary as you have entered into silence.
4)Return to the mantra if you find your mind becoming active.
Prayer beads and rosaries provide a tactile sensation to mantra meditation, and have been shown to help facilitate relaxation. Simply use the beads to count your mantra repetitions. This is especially helpful if you have a creative or restless mind.
1)Choose a narrative story from scripture, a favorite myth or fairytale.
2)Read through the story slowly and meditatively.
3)Choose a character from the story (named, or unnamed).
4)Re-read the story from the vantage point of your chosen character.
5)Enter into your creative imagination, placing yourself in the story as your chosen character. Allow the story to unfold in your imagination in great detail, being mindful of thoughts, reflections, emotions that may surface through the process.
6)After your story has come to a natural conclusion, write what your witnessed through your imagination, allowing additional details to surface as you write. Do not censor or second-guess what shows up for you. Write it all down.
7)Go back and read your written story.
8)As you are reading, reflect on the following two questions:
– How is God speaking to me through what was revealed in this daydreaming?
– How is the revealed story reflective of something going on in my current life journey?
Music is used as a vehicle through which you can find that place of peaceful calm within.
1)Choose a musical selection (chant, classical music, instrumental music work well here.)
2)Listens to musical selection with rapt attention, allowing the movement of the music to draw you into peaceful calm or to stir other emotions that may need to be released (anger, sorrow, frustration, grief, etc.)
3)Rest in silent contemplation once music is finished.
Mindful Meditation/Theological Reflection
1)Choose an ordinary activity or object as the focal point of your meditation – it can be anything – a paper cup, a paperclip, a candle, a pen, a stick, eating an orange, chopping onions, etc.
2)Observe the object or engage in the activity with rapt attention.
3)Become aware of the object or the activity in a way that transcends your typical experience of this object/activity.
4)Reflect on how God is present or revealed through the object or activity.