"We do not always realize what a radical suggestion it is for us to read to be formed and transformed rather than to gather information. We are information seekers. We love to cover territory."
~ Macrina Weiderkehr
A Guide to Spiritual Reading
Reading for Information vs. Reading for Transformation
The difference between reading for information and reading for transformation has little to do with content but rather with:
Imagine that it is the end of a long day, and you are tired. You check email one last time. They all seem to be "business as usual" with one exception; one email is from a longtime friend from who you haven't heard from in a very long time. You quickly respond to the other emails first then pause before opening the one from your friend, anticipating what it will say. You take your time reading it savoring the history and connection you still share with that person; you sense their presence with you...over the course of your life and in that moment. There is a connection that time and space can't take away.
Can you detect the difference in intention, attitude, and manner? The first approach is interested in speed and information; it is utilitarian. The second is about heart and receptivity.
Spiritual reading is more like the second scenario. It is a meditative approach to reading that focuses on quality not quantity, and requires unhurried time and an open heart. Reading spiritually changes who we are & what we care about; it creates a ripple effect which changes our thinking, behaviors, and relationships.
Center yourself in a couple minutes of silence.
Acknowledge the presence of all that is Sacred and Holy around you, welcome it, and ask to be led in your reading.
Read slowly, taking time to reflect on the words or ideas that stand out to you.
Prayerfully ask what these words might mean for you.
If you would like, journal with what you are grappling.
Prayerfully offer any concerns or questions that remain.
With gratitude in your heart, ask for guidance as you continue to seek in your daily life what these words mean for you, and close with a couple more minutes in silence.
Note: As with other healthy practices, such as exercise and nutritious eating, we experience the greatest benefit when we do it on a regular basis. It is important to have a regular practice of spiritual reading, 20 - 30 minutes, 3 or more times per week .