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Lectio Divina (was Re: The First-Class Disciples)

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  • sharani_sharani
    Hi Terri, It might have been a little confusing that I accidentally pasted in the same quote from Dysinger s article for both the third and fourth step of the
    Message 1 of 14 , Mar 1, 2006
      Hi Terri,

      It might have been a little confusing that I accidentally pasted in
      the same quote from Dysinger's article for both the third and fourth
      step of the process. For the final contemplation stage I meant to
      quote his comments as:

      "Finally, we simply rest in the presence of the One who has used His
      word as a means of inviting us to accept His transforming embrace...
      Wordless, quiet rest in the presence of the One Who loves us has a
      name in the Christian tradition - contemplatio, contemplation. Once
      again we practice silence, letting go of our own words; this time
      simply enjoying the experience of being in the presence of God."

      So why did I have the impression that you did this with the poem? My
      impression starts with your interest to explore the meaning in a poem
      that randomly presented itself to you and on the surface did not
      resonate. You describe a process of diving deeper into it to search
      for meaning in relation to your own life and in a spirit of
      willingness dwell on its possible application to your own life. I
      imagine that the last stage of contemplation was probably there as an
      undercurrent during the entire exercise. So your post seemed to mirror
      the four stages of deep listening, allowing the reading to interact
      with your own life and feelings, praying about it with a feeling of
      deep honesty and willingness to face difficulties and finally just
      quietly feeling oneness with God.

      I'm definitely interested in the process by which people try to use
      spiritual writings to guide and inform their life. That being the
      case, I have to also admit that intensive interpretation commentaries
      of Guru's poems doesn't inspire me personally. Maybe it's like walking
      a fine line. I don't know. I'll reserve more comments for now since
      discussion of the process itself interests me - it's just all the
      commentaries on the prayers that has me leaning more towards Doris'
      recent perspective...

      Sharani



      --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, carr_terri
      <no_reply@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hi Sharani,
      >
      > Well if I was doing Lectio Divina, I was doing so unconsciously. Like
      > you say, maybe we do something like this but kind of spontaneously,
      > without thinking about the steps.
      >
      > I had to reread your description of this process a few times as well
      > as reread my own message to imagine how you could think I was doing
      > anything so sublime since in this instance, the poem below about
      > needing "a big push in my spiritual life" felt a little bit like a
      > sharp wake-up call ;-0
      >
      > But anyway...I think you are right. I guess it is more easy to
      > relate to Lectio Divina when the text is more cheerful.
      >
      > On another topic, a certain Mr. Morris was offering high praise for
      > your webpage. I will be sure to stop in for a another look.
      >
      > Terri
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sharani_sharani
      > <no_reply@> wrote:
      > >
      > > Hi Terri,
      > >
      > > Uncanny timing strikes again. The day I read this post it made me
      > > think of something interesting I stumbled across as I searched the
      > > Internet the day before. I found myself exploring something called
      > > lectio divina which as far as I can tell is most commonly practised
      > as
      > > part of Catholic and Christian monastic spirituality. Lectio divina
      > > means literally "divine reading" or sacred reading. It is a process
      > of
      > > sitting with a passage from scripture and trying to open up to it
      > on a
      > > deep level. A spirit of communion with God enters into your
      > > contemplation on the passage in relation to your own life and your
      > > reaction to it. Reading your journey with the poem below and its
      > > possible meaning for you led me to exclaim that you were doing
      > lectio
      > > divina with Guru's writings. Majorly cool! Since I know you grew up
      > > Catholic, did you ever get exposed to the practise of lectio divina?
      > > Have you ever heard of it before?
      > >
      > > I especially liked an article about it that was written which is
      > > featured on the website of St. Andrew's Abbey, a Benedictine
      > monastery
      > > in California. It is located at:
      > > http://www.valyermo.com/ld-art.html
      > >
      > > In the article Friar Luke Dysinger describes the steps of lectio
      > > divina starting with "the ability to listen deeply, to hear 'with
      > the
      > > ear of our hearts.'"
      > >
      > > He describes the second stage as a form of meditation where "we must
      > > take in the word - that is, memorize it - and while gently repeating
      > > it to ourselves, allow it to interact with our thoughts, our hopes,
      > > our memories, our desires. This is the second step or stage in
      > lectio
      > > divina - meditatio. Through meditation we allow God's word to become
      > > His word for us, a word that touches us and affects us at our
      > deepest
      > > levels."
      > >
      > > The third step is praying the scripture. He writes, "God invites us
      > in
      > > lectio divina to hold up our most difficult and pain-filled
      > > experiences to Him, and to gently recite over them the healing word
      > or
      > > phrase He has given us in our lectio and meditatio. In this oratio,
      > > this consecration-prayer, we allow our real selves to be touched and
      > > changed by the word of God."
      > >
      > > Lastly, we contemplate. Dysinger states,"God invites us in lectio
      > > divina to hold up our most difficult and pain-filled experiences to
      > > Him, and to gently recite over them the healing word or phrase He
      > has
      > > given us in our lectio and meditatio. In this oratio, this
      > > consecration-prayer, we allow our real selves to be touched and
      > > changed by the word of God."
      > >
      > > Now you see why I say you did lectio divina with this poem, yes? It
      > > seems to me that within our community, many of us are carrying on
      > this
      > > ancient monastic practise when we take to heart Guru's advice that
      > we
      > > meditate upon and read his writings and poems. Arpan's commentaries
      > on
      > > the current 'My God-Hunger Cry' series of daily poems (ones that we
      > > memorize and recite three times aloud during our morning meditation)
      > > are another example of modern-day lectio divina.
      > >
      > > How blessed we are to have such a vast lexicon of spiritual writings
      > > offered by Guru to inspire illumining lectio divina on countless
      > > aspects of our lives.
      > >
      > > Sharani
      > >
      > >
      > > -- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, carr_terri
      > > <no_reply@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > Dharmaja (and others),
      > > >
      > > > I also read with concern your post about struggling to be a
      > disciple
      > > > of "ANY class". Of course, I too can identify with this
      > > > sentiment.
      > > >
      > > > One of my favorite aspects of Sri Chinmoy's poetry books is that
      > > > often the very first poem I read will seem to speak to whatever I
      > am
      > > > thinking or worrying about at that moment. For me, this happens
      > > > especially often with the Seventy Seven Thousand Service Trees
      > poems.
      > > >
      > > > The other day I opened a Service-Trees and read [unofficial]:
      > > >
      > > > I need a big push
      > > > In my spiritual life
      > > > To go back to my original height.
      > > >
      > > > Yikes! This was not a message that was in synch with things in
      > the
      > > > forefront of my mind. In fact, I thought I was generally feeling
      > > > more inspired than usual to make progress on some outer
      > disciplines.
      > > >
      > > > But I have been reflecting on it for the past few days. And as I
      > > > relected on it, I remembered how just recently I was struggling
      > with
      > > > some rather uncomfortable uninspiring feelings.
      > > >
      > > > The more I reflected on it, the more I remembered that as a newer
      > > > disciple, I seldom got particularly irritated by the
      > imperfections of
      > > > others. If something disturbing should happen in my life, I very
      > > > quickly refocused my attention on a higher goal.
      > > >
      > > > How eye-opening it is to mentally step outside of one's daily
      > > > existence and observe oneself from a distance, then and now.
      > > >
      > > > Of course, Sri Chinmoy's message is meant only to encourage. If
      > the
      > > > poem speaks to me (or anyone), it is only to remind us that it is
      > > > possible to regain that same level of pure inspiration.
      > > >
      > > > Oneness and love to you all!
      > > >
      > > > Terri
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sharani_sharani
      > > > <no_reply@> wrote:
      > > > >
      > > > > Hi Dharmaja,
      > > > >
      > > > > After reading your post I kept thinking of the unforgettably
      > > > beautiful
      > > > > experience you had when your parents came to see Sri Chinmoy in
      > > > > concert and that blessingful photograph was taken that you
      > shared
      > > > with
      > > > > us of you, your parents and Sri Chinmoy. With full conviction,
      > I say
      > > > > that sweet interlude demonstrates how cherished you are in
      > Guru's
      > > > > heart and I am also fully confident when I dare to speak for
      > > > everyone
      > > > > here that we all cherish you as well. You do have the best
      > jokes you
      > > > > know! But that's certainly not even the half of it.
      > > > >
      > > > > Now I hear that San Diego has the most perfect year-round
      > weather of
      > > > > any spot in America! Don't tell me that even there a spot of
      > winter
      > > > > doldrums can roll in? Even though I'm the first in line to
      > whine
      > > > about
      > > > > my high volume of time spent behind the wheel of a car when
      > > > inclement
      > > > > winter weather happens, I cannot even begin to imagine life
      > without
      > > > > four seasons. If you have daffodils, when exactly do they bloom?
      > > > > Anytime they're planted?
      > > > >
      > > > > Sharani
      > > > >
      > > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sarah_inseattle
      > > > > <no_reply@> wrote:
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Hi Dharmaja!
      > > > > >
      > > > > > I am touched by your post and your struggles. Who among us
      > does
      > > > not
      > > > > > identify with you? I am looking forward to a lot of
      > responses!
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Dharmaja, I just want you to know that here in Seattle the
      > > > Kalagians
      > > > > > are all cheering and rooting for you! (Jumping up and down,
      > > > > > clapping our hands, whistling, etc.) Also, I am inspired to
      > share
      > > > a
      > > > > > story.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > A few years ago, I was looking for a new piano teacher for
      > Anna.
      > > > In
      > > > > > a phone interview, I asked the teacher, "Do you have a
      > particular
      > > > > > philosophy of teaching?" She quickly said "No, not really."
      > But
      > > > > > then after some thought she said, "Well, I teach to their
      > > > > > strengths." She gave the example, that if she had a very
      > active
      > > > 10
      > > > > > year-old boy she might introduce him to powerful, rhythmic
      > pieces
      > > > he
      > > > > > would enjoy playing. Or if the student had a good musical
      > ear,
      > > > she
      > > > > > would help him build on that.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > This really resonated with me. She did become Anna's piano
      > > > teacher
      > > > > > and it has been a very happy arrangement. She has built on
      > > > Anna's
      > > > > > strengths and uncovered many more we didn't know she had.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > I have incorporated this philosophy of building on strengths
      > in
      > > > > > other areas of my life. It is such a positive approach and it
      > > > really
      > > > > > does work.
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Dharmaja, maybe you could build on the areas of your
      > spiritual
      > > > life
      > > > > > where you are strongest, even if they might feel small. Those
      > > > > > strengths will lead to others and pretty soon, wow, there
      > goes
      > > > > > Dharmaja! "We knew him when!"
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Maybe it is time to resume eating more often at Ananda Fuara!
      > > > > >
      > > > > > Smiling in Seattle,
      > > > > > Sarah
      > > > > >
      > > > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, dharmaja
      > > > > > <no_reply@> wrote:
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > Dear Colm and Niriha,
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > Seems like a century ago, Ananda Fuara restaurant was in
      > the
      > > > Sunset
      > > > > > > District of San Francisco.
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > At that time, I had a job in the town of Brisbane
      > (California,
      > > > not
      > > > > > > Australia), which is a few miles to the south of SF. Every
      > > > > > morning, I
      > > > > > > went to Ananda Fuara restaurant for breakfast. Also, I
      > would
      > > > have
      > > > > > > them pack a lunch for me to take to work. Again, in the
      > > > evening, I
      > > > > > > went there for dinner.
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > So, nearly five days a week, I was eating Ananda Fuara
      > cuisine
      > > > > > three
      > > > > > > times a day. Also, I often went there on Saturdays for two
      > or
      > > > > > three
      > > > > > > meals. With 20-20 hindsight, I'd have to say that this
      > habit
      > > > was
      > > > > > > primarily motivated by my unwillingness to cook for
      > myself.
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > One day Sri Chinmoy telephoned the restaurant, and he
      > wanted to
      > > > > > know,
      > > > > > > who are the students who go to Ananda Fuara most
      > frequently?
      > > > The
      > > > > > > manager responded, "Dharmaja and Jigisha." Guru
      > > > said, "Dharmaja
      > > > > > and
      > > > > > > Jigisha are first-class disciples."
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > At this point in my life, I am struggling to become a
      > disciple
      > > > of
      > > > > > ANY
      > > > > > > class. How I wish I could become a first-class disciple
      > simply
      > > > by
      > > > > > > eating food! But, no. This time, I have to get my sacred
      > butt
      > > > off
      > > > > > > the ground, and aspire properly.
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > Never give up!
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > -- Dharmaja
      > > > > > > San Diego, California
      > > > > > > _______________________________
      > > > > > >
      > > > > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, colmbolmcolm
      > > > > > > <no_reply@> wrote:
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > Wow!!
      > > > > > > > Niriha, that slip of paper is worth more than all the
      > winning
      > > > > > lotto
      > > > > > > > tickets of the last decade! Thanks for your stories!
      > > > > > >
      > >
      > > > Colm.
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, niriha7
      > > > > > > > <no_reply@> wrote:
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > Because Sri Chinmoy has told two old stories about me
      > on
      > > > the
      > > > > > past
      > > > > > > > > three Christmas trips, I am inspired to tell these
      > stories
      > > > > > here.
      > > > > > > > One
      > > > > > > > > story was about a time when I was telling Sri Chinmoy
      > about
      > > > > > > > something
      > > > > > > > > I had done but perhaps with a bit of embellishment.
      > When I
      > > > had
      > > > > > > > > finished, Guru said, "Niriha (drawing my name out), are
      > you
      > > > > > > > telling me
      > > > > > > > > the truth?" I then said, "O Guru, you know what a big
      > liar
      > > > I
      > > > > > can
      > > > > > > > be!"
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > After telling this, Guru said, "Where can you find
      > someone
      > > > > > like
      > > > > > > > this?
      > > > > > > > > Most would try to defend their lie and adamantly claim
      > > > they
      > > > > > were
      > > > > > > > > uttering the truth even when caught."
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > My feeling is that one cannot fool a God Realized
      > Master.
      > > > > > Since I
      > > > > > > > was
      > > > > > > > > foolish enough to try in the first place, I might as
      > well
      > > > have
      > > > > > > > enough
      > > > > > > > > wisdom to admit I was caught � and caught with such
      > > > > > affection.
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > I remember the incident so clearly and I must say, the
      > > > > > amusement I
      > > > > > > > > felt from Sri Chinmoy told me something important: one
      > does
      > > > > > not
      > > > > > > > have
      > > > > > > > > to be stiff and formal with his/her Master even if the
      > > > Master
      > > > > > is
      > > > > > > > > enlightened. Only we have to be natural with our Guru.
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > It seems that Sri Chinmoy has told the second story a
      > > > number
      > > > > > of
      > > > > > > > times
      > > > > > > > > because he feels that it is instructive. He usually
      > tells
      > > > it
      > > > > > along
      > > > > > > > > with the story above and I think the two stories have a
      > > > > > similar
      > > > > > > > message.
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > One year I was in what I might categorize as a
      > particularly
      > > > > > > > resistant
      > > > > > > > > period in my spiritual development. It seemed that
      > during
      > > > that
      > > > > > > > > particular year, everything I did was done with
      > blinders
      > > > on.
      > > > > > I was
      > > > > > > > > particularly careless in much of what I did which was
      > quite
      > > > > > unusual
      > > > > > > > > for me. Basically, it would be accurate to say I was
      > > > careless
      > > > > > and
      > > > > > > > > callous. Looking back, I can also say that I seemed to
      > > > ignore
      > > > > > my
      > > > > > > > > Guru's guidance in most things. Naturally this added
      > up to
      > > > > > many
      > > > > > > > > instances of correction from him. To my clouded way of
      > > > > > thinking at
      > > > > > > > > the time, it simply seemed that I could do nothing
      > right.
      > > > > > Never
      > > > > > > > mind
      > > > > > > > > that I was doing nothing right!
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > One day I had done something that indicated that
      > perhaps I
      > > > was
      > > > > > > > willing
      > > > > > > > > after all to assimilate what Sri Chinmoy was attempting
      > to
      > > > > > make me
      > > > > > > > > aware of. Though I do not remember what I actually
      > did,
      > > > Guru
      > > > > > said
      > > > > > > > to
      > > > > > > > > me, "Niriha, you are my best disciple." Quite
      > sincerely I
      > > > can
      > > > > > say
      > > > > > > > > that I could not believe my ears! Without a moment's
      > > > > > hesitation, I
      > > > > > > > > blurted out, "Guru!! Can I have that in writing?!!!"
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > Guru reached for a pad next to his chair and began
      > > > writing.
      > > > > > To
      > > > > > > > this
      > > > > > > > > day, I have the paper from that pad and I have framed
      > it.
      > > > > > Printed
      > > > > > > > on
      > > > > > > > > the top of the paper is "I Love Tennis". In Sri
      > Chinmoy's
      > > > > > > > handwriting
      > > > > > > > > are the words, "I hereby declare that Niriha is
      > undoubtedly
      > > > my
      > > > > > best
      > > > > > > > > disciple. Sworn and witnessed by . . ." with a list of
      > > > five
      > > > > > > > persons
      > > > > > > > > who were present.
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > Perhaps Guru enjoyed the spontaneity of my request and
      > that
      > > > is
      > > > > > why
      > > > > > > > he
      > > > > > > > > enjoys telling this. For me, the event reminds me of
      > his
      > > > > > loving
      > > > > > > > > compassion and sweetness. It was a heart-warming and
      > > > > > encouraging
      > > > > > > > new
      > > > > > > > > beginning for me.
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > Particularly humorous is a comment made by one of Sri
      > > > Chinmoy's
      > > > > > > > > students. The comment was made after Sri Chinmoy had
      > told
      > > > > > this
      > > > > > > > story
      > > > > > > > > in China. Databir said, "That was a great story
      > Niriha."
      > > > I
      > > > > > > > replied,
      > > > > > > > > "Databir, you know this could not be farther from the
      > > > truth."
      > > > > > He
      > > > > > > > > replied, "Consider though that history won't know. You
      > are
      > > > > > the
      > > > > > > > only
      > > > > > > > > one that has it in writing. After we are long gone, it
      > > > will
      > > > > > be in
      > > > > > > > > writing that you were Guru's best disciple so who will
      > know
      > > > > > any
      > > > > > > > better?"
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > I found that worth thinking about. ;-) But from my
      > vantage
      > > > > > point,
      > > > > > > > I
      > > > > > > > > admit that it is hilarious to think about since it is
      > an
      > > > > > example of
      > > > > > > > > how wrong so called historical fact can be!
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > > > ^ ^
      > > > > > > > > @ @
      > > > > > > > > \_/
      > > > > > > > >
      > > > > > > >
      > > > > > >
      > > > > >
      > > > >
      > > >
      > >
      >
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