After finally coming to terms with the fact that I no longer identify with traditional Christian beliefs, I found myself questioning the necessity of reading the Bible. However, I still had a burning desire to expand my spiritual knowledge. Reflecting on how I've benefited from maintaining a sacred reading practice allowed me to see the importance of it.
So, why develop a sacred reading practice? Here are few benefits I've experienced:
Why Develop A Sacred Reading Practice?
To raise your vibrational energy.
To align your spirit to the Divine, God, Source or whatever name fits your beliefs.
To sharpens your intuition.
To develop a spirit of discernment.
For spiritual development and transformation.
Now, this is just a list of how I've benefited from reading sacred texts, but I am sure there are many more. Before we discuss how to develop a sacred reading practice, let's talk about how to choose a sacred text.
Choosing A Sacred Text
First, there are different types of spiritual texts. For a long time I've simply just studied the Bible. However, there are other sources of spiritual readings that are considered to be sacred or spiritual.
TYpes of SACRED Texts
1| Ancient Texts - Sacred texts from the world's most ancient religions.
Examples Are: Bible, Qu’ran, Torah, Veds & Upanishads (Hindi), Pali Canon (Buddhist), Tao Te Ching
2| Divinely Inspired Texts - Can be ancient or more recent in history; divinely inspired writings are written by the most revered spiritual philosophers or thought leaders.
3| Channeled Text - Typically more recent in history; written by an individual who believes to have a message from God, Source, or the Universe that is to be shared with the world.
Example: A Course In Miracles
Selecting A Sacred Text
It is my suggestion that you rely on the use of a sacred text based on what fits your own personal belief system, cosmology or traditions.
All sacred texts express our human interpretation of that which we refer to as a higher power, the highest level of consciousness, God, Source or The Universe. There is truth hidden within all sacred text. No matter what sacred text you choose to read you can learn about the nature of the Divine from it and, how our relationship to what we define as God has evolved throughout time.
If you are currently experiencing a resistance to a particular type of text, don't force it. For me developing a set of tenets for how my evolving faith has changed from that of what I once knew has helped me to set a mental framework on how I would approach any sacred text. Taking this step might also help you.
Now about how you might want to approach reading a sacred text...
How To Develop A Sacred Reading Practice
1| Set your intention.
Setting a side a quiet time to focus on sacred reading is important. You may feel led to set the tone by playing sacred or meditation music. Or, begin with a cleansing ritual to set the energy of the room or space. After you've set the spiritual atmosphere you desire, you can begin your practice with setting the intention or purpose behind why you are reading. You can verbalize your attention through a prayer or stating it aloud.
I prefer to begin with a prayer, thanking God for his presence and guidance. Then, stating that my heart and mind is open to receive divine wisdom.
2| Read & Examine.
Read and reread the sacred text. You may choose to follow a devotional plan, choose to read a sacred text you've been curious to learn more about, or feel drawn to a specific text. Read it. And re-read it. As you reread the text examine it. By asking yourself:
What does this passage of sacred text reveal to me about the nature of God? The nature of human consciousness?
Who are the main characters within this text? What role do they play? What is the lesson in this story?
Does this passage connect to or relate to any other story I've read within this sacred text or another sacred text that I've read? What themes do I notice?
Do I see myself in this person's story? In what ways? How can I learn from this story?
These are a few questions you may feel urged to ask yourself as you are reading. I urge you to to choose just one question to focus on. You might notice you have other questions or revelations that come up for you as you are reading through the text, write them down.
You might want to keep a journal and a pen handy to record your thoughts.
3| Meditate & Reflect.
After reading through and closely examining the sacred text take a moment to pause and reflect. First, by allowing your mind to rest and see what Spirit has for you to receive. Then, reflect on what has came up for you and how you can apply it to your daily life.
What key takeaways can I apply to my life from reading this text?
What has this sacred text revealed to me about myself?
How can you apply what I read to my life?
What have I learned about the nature of God through reading?
Take the time to express gratitude. Giving thanks for the divine wisdom and understanding that you have received. And, take what you learned to ask for guidance on your spiritual journey.
This is how I generally approach reading sacred texts. Hopefully, this can be of use to you on your spiritual growth journey.
Don't have a sacred text laying around at home? There are tons of internet resources available to you. Here are a few places to start:
Beliefnet - A spiritual life site filled with a bounty of resources...to deepen your spiritual journey. It lists a wide range of articles centered on faith, health & wellness, & relationships. It also has a daily readings of sacred Christian, Hindu, Buddhists, Judaism & Islamic texts
Buddhanet - Exploring buddhism? Buddhanet has a list of resources.
Do you incorporate the reading of sacred texts in your spiritual practice? How do you approach sacred reading? Feel free to share in the comment section below!
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