Saturday, March 25, 2017

Reading Devotional Poetry

Reading and writing poetry is one of my most loved spiritual practices. Just as Yoga brought me back to my devotional Christian practices, Yoga also brought me back to an appreciation of poetry I had lost studying and working in the corporate world. When I started frequenting yoga classes during my pregnancies and when my boys were small, some of the most relaxed moments of my day were at the end of yoga class listening to the teacher recite poetry aloud.

As a child I wrote poetry. As a young adult I studied literature and read a voluminous amount of poetry. In interfaith seminary poetry resurfaced again, and devotional poetry was new for me.

In formal ministry or any kind of spiritual teaching and healing work (especially thinking of yoga teachers) poetry enhances vision and understanding through lyricism. Familiar words and ideas undergo a prism effect, blooming into colorful new meaning and possibility.

Poetry flows into and out of the heart through the veil of the mind, unifying opposing energies, bringing holism to two-dimensional religious routine.

Torments of the heart have inspired many poets throughout the ages: love and longing are the raw materials of lyricism. Divine love and longing is the sublimation of carnal desire. Absorption into cosmic love is the sublimation of poetry; getting from a construct of words to a place no words can describe.

Reading devotional poetry is a spiritual practice that stands on it own, as well as cooperating seamlessly with contemplative prayer and meditation.

Mira Bai is a devotional poet from 16th century India. Her verse sings the praises of Lord Krishna.


Unbreakable, O Lord,
Is the love
That binds me to You:
Like a diamond,
It breaks the hammer that strikes it.

My heart goes into You
As the polish goes into the gold.
As the lotus lives in its water,
I live in You.

Like the bird
That gazes all night
At the passing moon,
I have lost myself dwelling in You.

O my Beloved Return.

No comments:

Post a Comment