"Reading fiction doesn't help us escape the world. It helps us live in it.
Are you a bookworm like me?
I doubt you'd be very interested in reading as a spiritual practice if you aren't. But for those of us who are bookworms, the idea that something we already love to do could make us become a better person, help us create a closer or deeper spiritual connection with the divine might be compelling, indeed.
"When your reading exercises your faith, fires your imagination, stirs your soul, and expands your circle of compassion, it becomes a sacred activity. As you read, notice and relish all the ways that the text speaks directly to you. It may remind you of something you are feeling, some need or yearning."-Making Reading Sacred, SpiritualityandPractice.com
Contemplative reading "begins with reading a short passage ... and then quietly reflecting upon it — not analyzing or trying to figure out the meaning — but rather allowing it to quietly work on you. The key is to read slowly, chew over the words, and allow them to quietly nourish and heal you." -Spiritual Practice by Wayne Muller
So it looks like your hygge reading experience can, indeed, be a spiritual practice. As a bookworm, I find that thrilling!
But is there a way to go about it that makes it more beneficial, or is just reading, itself, of benefit?
I think to glean wisdom, it is best to go beyond just reading. I think if we are open to gleaning wisdom and to being inspired, and we have both as an intention, we are much more likely to create that experience.
Want to try it? Here's what I suggest for reading as a spiritual practice...
(1) Read something, while sitting in your most comfy chair & drinking sweet tea or another favorite beverage.
(2) Reflect on what you're reading and write down any insights you get in your journal, so you don't forget them.
(3) Does anything come to mind as a way to apply or act on the wisdom or insight? Take a moment to imagine how things might shift as a result.
"Fiction urges me to explore the great what-ifs of the world: What if the world could change into that optimistic future? What if God is up to something bigger than our imaginations can even begin to encompass and this is just a small glimpse of that?" -thisisthecommunity.com
Has reading ever inspired you? Or helped you imagine a "you" beyond the way you see yourself right now?
Has it ever led to a longing for this world to be more like the one in the book you read?
That happens to me all the time! And when I was younger, I used to journal about the characters in the books I read and the movies I saw. I'd get this big idea that I should be more like them so my life could be transformed in the wonderful ways I imagined.
I love the idea of being inspired by reading again.
What do you think? Would you ever try reading as a spiritual practice?
See you next time!