Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Belief, Questions, and Lectio Divina

Spirituality is not about having a belief system that gives you all the answers. It's about questions and experimentation. Rather than accepting a belief you read or that someone has given you, test it. Contemplate it. Pray about it. Meditate on it. See what comes to you.

The New Testament says to seek first the Kingdom and that everything you need will be given to you. Buddhist teachings say to practice non-attachment. Neither of these are beliefs. The idea is not to believe it, but to test it. What would your life be like if God, or your Higher Power, or Truth was  your number one priority? What would it be like to let go and not be attached to any specific outcomes?

What if your only response to life was "Thank you?"  What if you trusted in God, or the Universe, or your Higher Self--or however you name it, and offered gratitude for everything? What would that be like?  I can't give you the answer, because that's what I'm doing.

For example, yesterday I lost a speaking engagement. I was disappointed at first, but then I said "Thank you."  The first benefit I recognize is I'm not dwelling on it, or mad about it, or wishing it was different. I'm trusting that all is well.  See, I feel better already.

This is not a belief. It's an experiment. I've had indicators in the past. In my business, I created poor results when I played salesman and pushed for more  business. On the flip side, often business came, and it had little to do with my efforts. Big projects arrived, unexpectedly. Most often this happened when I was not fearful, but felt confident that opportunities would come. It happened when a phone call came or an opportunity made itself known--I had to act on it.

Beliefs don't bring you enlightenment, or awakening, or salvation, or wisdom. Belief systems and religions are supposed to be maps--something that helps point you home. Ministers, teachers and priests are midwives who help others give birth to the truth within themselves. Humans make the mistake of worshipping scripture and teachers, making them special, exclusive, or the only way. The map is not the territory. The midwife does not give birth for you.

Anyone can quote a scripture. The real value in it is not that you prove anything, but in what that scripture or teaching says to you. In the 12th century a monk defined a way of reading scripture called Lectio Divina, which means "Divine Reading."  Pick a short reading and:
1. Read it slowly.
2. Reflect on it.
3. Respond by leaving your thinking aside and letting your heart speak to God.
4. Rest--let go of your own plans and agenda and listen at the deepest level of your being to the still small voice.

No person or belief system can give you wisdom, or enlightenment, or spiritual knowing. These are the treasures that are already within you. But don't believe me. Look for yourself.

by William Frank Diedrich
Author of Human Adulthood: A Spiritual Romance

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