Healing with Quotes: Lectio Divina Applied to Quotations

Bathing in the healing power of words…

In contemplative Christian spirituality, there is a practice called “lectio divina”… a prayer practice in which a person slowly reads a bible passage, dwelling on each of the words. Generally, a passage is read 3 times by a reader and a listener simply listens… allowing whatever comes up… to come up… This edifies the reader, basking… being bathed in the healing power of words being read. This can also be done on one’s own. To read even a single verse… slowly, 2-3 times… may take 10 minutes or so. A reader feels a shift… and good things happen.

Since not all of my ladies reading here are Christian and even for ladies who are Christian, I would like to offer an expanded experience in which you can apply a lectio divina mindset to any good thing you see, feel, hear, or read… as a practice of “entering in…” to an experience. Applying the idea of entering in slowly… basking… being bathed in a good thing that is happening right now. We often go to our analytic minds for answers and we get ensnared. For my Christian friends who may be skeptics, we are told to take “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ…” this means not simply analyzing thoughts or replacing thoughts with yet more or better thoughts… rather it means entering fully into the presence of Christ in each moment as we experience a thought or anything else we see, touch, or feel for that matter. The intent of that Scripture is to remind us to be present with Christ himself, not simply to analyze ideas “about” Him.

For my non-Christian friends, a lectio divina state of mind experience, can be a deep experience of goodness, healing, and can lead to maturing emotionally by becoming more real, more aware of our own feelings, more aware of what others are sharing, less checked out. Fully entering into a phrase can do this… But it can also happen by entering sensations, colors, sounds, sights, feelings, stories, paintings, scenes, sky, radio, conversation, eating food, the taste of it, or… words of another (entering the words of a man as if you are in a story with him as he tells it… not focusing on him… focusing on the words being shared… listening deeply to the words and stories of another person – this will draw a man to you and he won’t even know why… he will feel connected to you… this is not the same as obsessing about what a man says or focusing on him as he tells the story… it’s more like being another character alongside him in the scene he is describing… co-pilot if he is sharing a story of flying his plane… a passenger in the car if he is sharing a story about being on the road… check out my tool for deep listening in love tips for more on this dating and relationship tool). In the experience of basking in words, you experience your own life to the full by slowing it down. Also, things will come to you that are helpful, healing, edifying. Things you need to know. Things you didn’t notice before when you were consumed with your thoughts.

In Christian life, there is a concept of “discernment”.

Discernment, for a Christian, is something we cultivate through prayer…and practice. It is a gift, like everything good is a gift… But, it is also cultivated… just like everything that matures only matures through cultivation. Discernment, for a Christian, is essentially, the idea of getting good at “hearing God’s voice”…  But, in more general terms, non-Christian terms, we can call it getting good at “being present”. In neurological or physical terms (loosely, not highly technical  terms) we can call it that which leads to forming new neural pathways so that we become habituated at being attentive to life. Presence can actually become a habit that will equip you to connect with your feelings and other human beings. The world is lonely without connection. In a sense, many of us are lonely, walking around disconnected much of the time… in drama and stories, in a state of dissociation. This means we are disconnected from people even as we are interacting with them… like the state of Adam Sandler in the movie “click” whenever he used the fast-forward button on his life remote… we are  stuck in our analysis… or  caught in a combination of fear/anxiety and the draining mental effort we have on auto-pilot which is consistently trying to hide, stuff down, or escape the anxiety while putting on airs… It is exhausting and disconnecting us from others … we can’t connect in that state. To connect, we have to practice. I’m not hear to debate science or theology. I AM an empiricist, among other things. This works. It changes lives. It heals. It connects. It draws love in. I’ve seen it time and time again in my own life and the lives of all sorts of suffering women. I don’t care about science or theology debate here. I care about results. I care about women everywhere healing and experiencing joy, love, peace, true intimacy with a man and everyone else. This works. Try it yourself and see.

Read a quote or anything that brings you joy a few times slowly. If the thing you try first doesn’t move you, don’t get frustrated. Just drop it. Work with something else that does move you. And try it next time something jumps out at you or you hear something that feels good or feels wise or profound. It’s also okay, even good, to try it with things that “move” you. In other words, it is not pollyanna. We are not stuffing feelings and only feeling good one. Not all things you experience need to make you feel “happy” in order to heal you. In fact, variety is good. We have all sorts of feelings we have dissociated from. It is good to experience whatever is actually happening. You will be healed by being able to feel moved… in any way… sad, nostalgic, whatever the feelings are that you have as you read words, go with it. Let them move you.

No analyzing… If it feels like too much or it starts to get boring, drop it and move on to the next thing.

Practice being “movable”. This will inspire a man to feel safe with you too. If you are movable, not only can a man get close to the real you but he can drop his act too. He can be movable… every man craves this and he doesn’t even know it.He only has access to the fullness of this life through a woman who can feel.

In Catholic spirituality, there is the concept of the world being “sacramental”. That means that there is NO divorce between the physical, emotional, spiritual, and visual. A person, for example, is an integrated whole, not just a bunch of parts. Just like you, as a person, are not just your parts, but rather a person, you, similarly all that we see, touch, and feel is itself  integrated. Now go ahead and forget that. You don’t have to believe or agree with theology or philosophy to benefit here. I bring it up for my Catholic friends to draw an association that may be helpful… also for my non-Catholic friends to access your intuitive understanding of the idea of something being integrated… this may help you to enter into a thing fully, integrated rather than falling into that neural groove of hyper-analyzing and breaking things down, a mind habit. If the concept is unhelpful, forget it, and move on…

Let’s get back to basics. Try on a lectio divina state of mind with quotes, feelings, visuals, images, stories, etc… To Do…

Read a quote or anything that brings you joy a few times slowly. If the thing you try first doesn’t move you, don’t get frustrated. Just drop it. Work with something else that does move you. And try it next time something jumps out at you or you hear something that feels good or feels wise or profound. It’s also okay, even good, to try it with things that “move” you. In other words, it is not pollyanna. We are not stuffing feelings and only feeling good one. Not all things you experience need to make you feel “happy” in order to heal you. In fact, variety is good. We have all sorts of feelings we have dissociated from. It is good to experience whatever is actually happening. You will be healed by being able to feel moved… in any way… sad, nostalgic, whatever the feelings are that you have as you read words, go with it. Let them move you.

Not analyzing… If it feels like too much or it starts to get boring, drop it and move on to the next thing.

Let me know how this helps you. I know that it will.

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