The fundamental aim of spiritual study is to get facts and principles
into the Heartï¿½s fertile ground. Ideas must get through habitual
and familiar filters; otherwise, the information is diverted from
having its full power.
Itï¿½s not how much you read or hear that counts, but how much
you take in and make your own. How can you receive knowledge deep
in your core so the principles work for you in far higher ways?
Here are eight proven methods that work wonders:
1. Write your own book of development. Gather
pearls of wisdom as you read, listen to audio programs or attend
talks. More importantly, when YOU have an insight, get it down!
Youï¿½ll find as years go by that the notebook youï¿½ve created is filled
with wisdom that has special resonance for YOU.
2. Contemplate. Picture yourself flying a glider.
The tow plane lifts you. Now itï¿½s your time to soar. You pull the
connection and youï¿½re on your own. The winds lift you higher and
The glider is a perfect parallel to the art of contemplation.
Focus on a single word, sentence, illustration or experience that
matters to you. Put the spotlight of your attention on it. Whatï¿½s
in this idea that isnï¿½t presently seen? What does the experience
Then, let go of the thought. Soar in the silence. It is the silence
following the focus that reveals the core. The silence takes you
beyond what you already understand. Transcend the word, concept
or experience and move from theory to revelation. Soar to a higher
level of deep and rich understanding.
3. Read aloud. Read enthusiastically and with
conviction. You may even wish to stand and gesture freely. You can
imagine that you are addressing a large and attentive audience,
like your own thoughts that now wish to change. Reading silently
exercises your intellect, while reading aloud combines both your
intellect and your power of speech.
4. Read with repetition. Take four or five pages
from a good book, and read these same pages every day for a week
before going on to the next four or five pages. Read them more than
once, if you have the time, but at least once a day. Just before
going to sleep at night is an ideal time. Something marvelous happens
when you do this. Information seeps through old patterns.
I first learned of this method from Og Mandino in his classic
book, ï¿½The Greatest Salesman in the World. ï¿½The benefits are enormous.
5. Be a metaphor hunter. This is wonderful fun.
Simply be alert to daily life experiences, historical examples or
encounters with nature that have a resemblance or connection to
a spiritual principle.
For example, letï¿½s say youï¿½re on a hike. You observe an old tree
that has fallen into a stream. The tree is lodged but the flowing
water gradually breaks it away and takes it downstream. You think
with delight how the flow of Truth clears away old thinking that
no longer serves your Heart.
Again, it all comes down to what you plant in your Heart. The
same experience happens to two people. One seizes the experience
and plants the lesson deep within, the other letï¿½s it just bounce
off the old and familiar mental patterns.
6. Express the knowledge you gather. See yourself
as a conduit of information, like a lake that stays pure by taking
in fresh water on one side and releasing it on the other. Refuse
to be a stagnant pond! Find ways in harmony with your talents and
interests to live and express what you learn, even though you may
sometimes be criticized. Write, speak, paint, dance, start businesses,
raise healthy children. These are all ways to express spiritual
knowledge in action.
7. Transform your automobile into a rolling cosmic university.
So much good information is now available on audio CD. Drive time
on the less crowded open roads is a great place to absorb these
treasures. It doesnï¿½t all have to be spiritually focused material.
Helpful ideas can be found in programs on efficiency and vocabulary,
for example. In all your listening, however, donï¿½t forget the enlightening
value of a quiet drive as well.
8. Make the most of group meeting opportunities.
A group where sincere men and women meet to delve deeply into lifeï¿½s
great questions can be a powerful venue for collecting more knowledge.
Just be aware that not all spiritual and wisdom groups are true
and healthy, and some take dreadful wrong turns. More than a few
foster dependency to support the endless insecurities of the ï¿½leaders.ï¿½
For example, they pry into peopleï¿½s affairs. Never forget that
your privacy is your sacred right and must never be sacrificed.
Just because you participate in a group activity does not mean that
you owe them any explanations concerning your private affairs. This
prying is a sure sign of an unhealthy group.
With self-reliance, what is best and true for you has an amazing
way of finding you. Groups are temporary vehicles that can be valuable,
but only if there is genuine value in the group.
Use these eight methods and watch your secret garden start to
bloom in your Heart. Youï¿½ll feel joy and cheerfulness reach you
at unexpected moments, and more frequently.