Skip to main content

Meditating on Scripture

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16 King James Version (KJV)

When we read a scriptural passage from the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, the Bhagavad Gita, the Dhammapada or even from a spiritual poet like Rumi or Hafez, spending some time before and after our reading to purposefully prepare our hearts and allow the words and their vibrations to settle into us is a powerful practice. 
Meditating on scripture is not an intellectual or analytical practice. Instead, it is a devotional practice, aimed at getting our hearts and minds in closer alignment with the Divine. When we prepare ourselves for an indwelling of scripture, we are inviting the indwelling of what Christians call the Holy Spirit. 
I love to read scriptures considered sacred in every tradition, because I feel spiritually blessed and enriched witnessing the perfect alignment of the words with the very same One Spirit. This greatly fortifies my faith and gives me confidence in the human ability to connect to our Universal God. 
In my interfaith seminary training, my second yoga teacher training and on the retreats I have attended, I found a like-minded group of people who love to follow this practice of meditating on scripture, and as the verse above describes, "admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in [our] hearts to the Lord." 
Though this verse addresses meditating and singing in community, the practice of meditating on scripture is often part of a personal spiritual practice. Many people believe that they need to be in a church or temple under the guidance of an ordained clergy member to receive spiritual instruction and blessing. This is not true. We all carry Divine power within us, and it waits there for us to connect with it. 
Try this practice at home:
1. Go to a place that is quiet.
2. Find a spiritual book of your choice.
3. Invite God/Goddess to commune with you, and light incense or a candle.
4. Choose a brief passage and read it (no more than one to three verses).
5. Repeat the passage aloud and then internally. 
6. Sit for some time in silence.
7. Thank God/Goddess for illuminating the words for you, either presently or at a future time.
8. For the rest of your day, notice any moments in which the words come back to you and take note of experiences or conversations which may carry the refrain of the scriptural passage. 
Don't think so much about perfect interpretation of the scripture or about whether you understand it. Try to feel it, instead. 
For today, I found this brief passage in the Koran from book 61, verses 12-14:
He will forgive your sins, admit you into Gardens graced with flowing streams, into pleasant dwellings in the Gardens of Eternity. That is the supreme triumph. And He will give you other things that will please you: His help and imminent breakthrough. [Prophet] give the faithful the good news. You who believe, be God's helpers. As Jesus, son of Mary, said to the disciples, 'Who will be my helpers in God's cause?' The disciples said, 'We shall be God's helpers.' 
Today, I will keep the vision of gardens with flowing streams in my mind and connect to the feeling this image evokes. I will ask today for a greater understanding of how to be God's helper. I will feel a connection with all of God's helpers in every part of the world, in every belief system. I believe that God has many helpers.  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Self-Love: A Guided Meditation

We are taught from infancy to seek validation of our worth and worthiness outside of ourselves: it begins with a parent, then teachers, then an external God or Savior, then a mentor, a boss, a number on a paycheck, or even a comment thread on Facebook.  You may not see yourself as consciously seeking validation in these ways, but how about unconsciously? Most of us need to reconnect with our inviolable, essential self-worth.  Here is one tool to help with that.  I will post the audio version of this guided meditation in the future.  To work with this script, enlist a partner to read it to you.  Choose music that brings you peace and ease.  Light a candle to ritualize your intention. 
Guided Meditation: Self-LoveBy Michelle Garrison Hough
1.Go to a place that is comfortable and peaceful for you.  Find a spot that is quiet other than possible background noise, and silence your cell phone and all other electronic devices. 
Once you have settled into this quiet space, begin to find ease in …

On Taoism

Following are the contents of another of our interfaith seminary take-home exams, which use Huston Smith's The World's Religions as a guidebook in addition to other sources as cited herein. 
TAOISM1.     Consider the story about Confucius meeting Lao Tzu.  What do you think is meant by his legendary remark, “Today I have seen a dragon?”
The quote attributed to Confucius following his meeting with Lao Tzu: “I know a bird can fly; I know a fish can swim; I know animals can run.  Creatures that run can be caught in nets; those that swim can be caught in wicker traps; those that fly can be hit by arrows.  But the dragon is beyond my knowledge; it ascends into heaven on the clouds and the wind.  Today I have seen Lao Tzu, and he is like the dragon!” 
A dragon is powerful, mysterious and mythical.  Confucius said that the dragon was beyond his knowledge, because the dragon lives in the realm of ideas and cannot be observed, categorized and defined.  Nonetheless, the image of the dra…

On Judaism

As I have done for our units on Hinduism and Buddhism, I am including the text of my take-home exam on Judaism.  All references to "Smith" are to the book, The World's Religions, by Huston Smith.  We use this as a base textbook, but we read scriptures and other source books for each of the faiths in preparing our exams and rituals.  The readings and site visits for the assignments are enriching, and I think it is useful to prepare these "cliff notes" style guides for each of the religions.  
JUDAISM1.         What are the four reasons Smith gives that history was of “towering significance” to the Jews?
A.The first reason is that life cannot be removed from the context in which it is lived.  All of the events described in the Hebrew bible come out of a particular context; similarly, the presentation of biblical characters is inextricably linked to the circumstances surrounding their lives.  Our lives also take form in response to events, and events have history to…