#2374 - Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - Editor: Jerry Katz
- #2374 - Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - Editor: Jerry KatzThe Nondual HighlightsArchive and Search Engine: http://nonduality.com/hlhome.htm
We welcome your letters, original submissions, book/movie/music reviews, news of websites and blogs. Send the info in a reply to this email.In this issue is an article from Susan Dane's website: http://www.susandane.com. The article speaks about how to read biblical scripture and could be applied to the reading of anything you see on the Highlights. For example, this passage from the article below makes a lot of sense:"Don’t bring your understanding to the page. Don’t “recognize” verses with a “yep, yeah…I know this one.” You actually don’t. You aren’t the same person who read that verse, even if you just read it 5 minutes ago! And until God speaks to us, whatever we know about it is old hat. It has no power to effect root change in our life."I've known Susan for 7 or 8 years. Susan's teaching may be summarized in this nugget from her website:
PRINCIPAL POINTS OF THIS TEACHING
- Formulas and systems lead us away from spirituality,
not toward it.
- We don’t create reality. What is real is created by something other than us.
- There is a way, but it does not lie within any
of our methods and systems.
This site is for people who are tired of exciting inspirations that sooner or later wear off. Tired is good. Tired is where Spirit starts to live its life as us.
GUIDELINES FOR READING SCRIPTURE
By Susan Dane
Taken from www.susandane.com
Please feel free to share this with a friend who might be looking for inspiration
Here are some thoughts on how to read a Scripture in a transformative way. I hope you find them helpful. What we see on the page has so much to do with how we read it.
Although my most extensive studies have been in the King James Version of the Bible, and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, I use this same approach in everything that I read of substance, and it is equally applicable to Scriptures of any denomination or teaching.
When we listen to a great symphony, we don’t talk at the same time. We don’t have a running discourse—“Wow, listen to those trumpets. I just knew the violins would be this beautiful. There’s that theme again. I remember the last time I heard this symphony performed, Isn’t that Mary-Anne’s daughter on First Oboe?…and on and on. If we do, we end up missing the music!
Instead, we just listen. We leave our day behind-- at the Symphonic Hall entrance, or at the first drop of the conductor’s wand—and we step into the world of the music.
Listening to Scripture is very similar. To hear its voice, we need to meet scripture on its terms, not ours. This means we have to stop translating it down into our mind’s ideas about it, stop grasping it, getting it, manipulating it, and applying it to all our problems, Like great music, Scripture asks us to leave our day and all our problems at the door, and instead, to come into the magical, wondrous world of God’s making. When we do this—when we actually do this—we are surprised to discover that all those problems we thought were -so-consuming, all those problems we were sure we had to take our inspirations to, all the problems we thought we were responsible for fixing--in the light of inspired vision they are changed, diminished, gone, healed.
This is God’s way of meeting the human need. When we yield, we don’t need to doctor. God doesn’t fix. He erases.
Here are some specific suggestions on how to listen to Scripture, and how to silence the great “talker” who can rarely keep his or her mouth shut even when God Himself is trying to speak to us!
Go slowly. Take it word by word. Literally! Sit with the first word before you move on. Where are you going in such a hurry? It’s not as if you’re going to get done with the Book. In fact, if you can get done with it, this is a sure sign that the book is not Scripture. We can never “finish” Truth.
“Knead” the text. Work it through and through by asking yourself questions, such as: (and you will find your own)
a. Why does this verse start with this word and not the next?
b. Why did the author add an “and” and another clause? Why not just end the sentence?
c. Why does this verse follow the previous?
d. Why did the author even include it?
e. What is so vital about this word to the meaning of this verse, or indispensable about this verse to the meaning of this passage?
When you start asking these questions of the text, don’t fill in the answers. Wait! Sometimes I’ve waited weeks for an answer. I will take a verse and keep it in thought throughout the day, questioning and listening for something other than my own “not so ingenious” mind to answer.
- Don’t move on until you can answer these
questions (and any others you are led to ask) In what other book would you read further without understanding
what you have just read? None! So why do it with the most important books of
all—the ones we are looking to, to guide and define our
- Don’t bring your understanding to the
page. Don’t “recognize” verses with a
“yep, yeah…I know this one.” You actually don’t. You aren’t the same person
who read that verse, even if you just read it 5 minutes ago! And until God
speaks to us, whatever we know about it is old hat. It has no power to effect
root change in our life.
The object of our spiritual study is not to inform the page with what we think it is saying, but rather to let the page inform us.
- Scripture is unique in its capacity to always
speak to us in the present, and to meet our present needs.
When we speak at it with our past, we kill it. God doesn’t need our help in translating His vision to us! He
does just fine without it.
If verses remind you of past inspirations, or the healing your best friend had, or some inspiring article or commentary you read about it, just thank your mind for “sharing.” Then tell it to be a good student and sit down and be quiet. You are waiting for the teacher to speak.
- Don't be too quick to "get inspired."
The quicker we get that inspirational “high,” the more likely
it is just our own mind interpreting these revolutionary words through the
"same-old-same-old." If something major hasn’t shifted inside you, if you’re
not shaken up, if your life isn’t actually changed in some way, then it is
probably just more human insight which will be stale by noon.
- Do not try to apply the verse to your problem
(or your list of problems.) Leave the list at the door. Let
God do both the interpeting AND the "applying." The more we let the page
inform us and the less we inform the page, the more radical will be the
evidence of God’s power in our lives. You will be surprised to see what has
happened to the list when next you check—if you even remember to.
- If it goes down easy, like a favorite
pop-song, this is a bad sign! Instead, wrestle with the verse until it becomes
a problem to you. The wisdoms of the great seers who wrote
these books upset the apple-carts of those who heard them speak. They should
upset ours too!
- Once we come to see what it is we DON’T
understand, once we have found the enigma within it, then we have found its
core,--the “active ingredient” so to speak--that can change us at our
root. Remember: The words of the Biblical Prophets, the words
of Jesus and the Apostles, these created problems for the listeners. People
went away unhappy. They grumbled and mumbled and got mad at how the words
challenged them. They ended up stoning the speakers, running them out of town,
Since every tradition records this same kind of “reaction” on the part of those who actually hear, we should ask ourselves why we don’t experience the same? Why don’t we get stirried up when we read our Scripture, or only get stirred up occasionally? Is it because we understand and have totally accepted the implications of these words? Have we really surpassed the likes of Peter, James, and John, for example? If so, do our lives attest to their same full-time commitment and healing authority?
In the case of Jesus, the only one who didn’t have a problem with his words was pretty much Jesus himself. Are we right up there with Jesus? Or have we perhaps not even heard him yet—or not heard him at the level that really counts? A tough question. One we shouldn’t be too quick to answer.
- Remember: Don’t try to glide over the sticky
parts of Scripture, in order to get to the “happy” parts right away—the parts
that make us feel good. If we don’t attempt to iron out
Scripture so that everything makes easy sense, but instead wrestle with the
paradoxes (as did Jacob with the angel who pulled his thigh out of joint)
then something might become equally disjointed in
It is in this “unhinging” of our mind’s interpretation that softens our heart’s calluses and allows Truth to penetrate beneath the surface. This is spiritual rebirth and this is what we want—not just more “inspirations” to join the clatter and the clutter of our mind, but the “power of the Word” that alone can restore our heart, mind and soul to their original innocence.