Expanded Lectio Divina for Self-Development
In this post I will provide an expanded version of this process by combining information from Origen, the Carthusian Monk Guigo II, and Augustine of Hippo. The presented process of 12 steps may be used to enhance internalization of sacred writing and/or to support internal healing of the participants. You have three choices here: read sacred scripture based on your personal spiritual and religious practices; make up your own deep healing mantra and write it down; and/or combine both practices noted above. The wording of this post will be based on the second possibility above. Note that if this is done in a group format, people take turns reading scripture/self-healing mantras aloud and sharing from time to time their emotional responses with each other. Personal deep respect and values-driven cognition, emotion, and behavior apply here. The process may work best if you practice it with cognition, affect, behavior, sensations, intuition, and with all your senses.
- Opening Invitation or Prayer: Invite your higher self, the power of nature, or your personal deity (God, Jesus, Buddha, Shiva, etc.) into your soft, warm heart-soul. Allow the feelings you notice.
- Lectio: This is the first reading of the sacred words or your self-healing mantra. Pay close attention.
- Brief Silence: Do your best to remain in deep silence in mind, brain, body, tongue, heart, and soul.
- Meditatio: Complete a second reading of the passage, this time a bit slower with more attention. You may repeat the reading if it is helpful to deepen your personal meanings and emotions. Ruminate on it as you connect meaning/insight with your thoughts, emotions, behaviors, memories.
- Brief Silence:
- Key Word, Phrase, Sentence: Select the most meaningful word, phrase, or sentence. Repeat this several, times as if you were trying to memorize it. Allow the words and meaning/emotions to enter the depths of your heart, soul, body. Be one with it! Discern closely how you feel inside your body.
- Oratio: Read the passage (word, phrase, sentence) again. If in a group this is the third read aloud experience. If doing this process alone, you have already repeated the reading several times by now. Attune and pay even deeper, stronger attention. God/your deity, love or personal higher self love are at work. Consecrate this process and the words deeper and deeper into yourself. Allow your true self to experience this feeling of soft love, and especially allow yourself to re-visit the deep suffering you have experienced. By integrating soft love with your suffering, you may notice the beginning of your personal healing at the most deep levels of personal, emotional experience. ALLOW IT ALL TO BE!
- Brief Silence:
- Collatio: On voluntary basis you may decide to share some of what you have experienced thus far in your inner healing and/or deep connection with the divine. Such sharing must be brief but meaningful for it to have a profound effect on yourself and on others who may be with you at this time. Brevity is also important so that deep emotional experience is not limited by consciousness.
- Contemplatio: Now go into even more depth and strengths as you delve deeper into the words and/or your personal connection to inner healing or inter-connection with the divine. Very deep contemplation is required so you can move from spiritual DOING to simply BEING in your current state of self-healing connection and/or a connection on a different dimension and power with your selected deity. Go as deeply as possible into the feelings of your current existence in integration.
- Closing Chant and/or prayer: This could be in silence or if in a group as a whole-group activity.
- Action: Some forms of Lectio Divina promote your personal actions in the real world you live in to live in the same way you experienced this sacred process. By kind, compassion, generous, non-violent, caring, supportive, and live a life based on your improved higher self or your selected deity.
For more information refer to Guigo II (Re-published, 1978). Ladder of Monks and Twelve Meditations. Coletti, J. (July, 2011). “Guigo II and the Development of Lectio Divina.” Also refer to various writing of Augustine of Hippo and The Augustinian Way of Life. See also Dei Verbum of the Second Vatican Council and Pope Benedict XVI in his support for lectio divina at the Papacy of the 21st century.
Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont and the Home of The Monkton Sangha
Author of Mindful Happiness