This week: Poetry as Spiritual ExpressionEdited by: Sophy v.2021
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Hi, I'm Sophy v.2021 ~ your editor for this edition of the Spiritual Newsletter.
The Rev. Scotty McLennan, author of the book Finding Your Religion, compares humanity's innate need for spiritual searching to climbing a mountain. In his view, we are all endeavoring to climb the same figurative mountain in our search for the divine, we just may take different ways to get there. In other words, there is one "God," but many paths. I honor whatever path or paths you have chosen to climb that mountain in your quest for the Sacred.
Poetry as Spiritual Expression
Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, (making this the 25th Anniversary) National Poetry Month is held every April in the US, when publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools and poets around the country band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. You can find more about it at http://www.poets.org/. Additionally, several poets around this site are observing Poetry Month with special poetry forums and contests. Here is my favorite:
Why am I talking about National Poetry in the Spiritual Newsletter? Well, if you believe, as Wallace Stevens said, that "we define poetry as the unofficial view of being," then bringing the art of language in contact with our spiritual practices can only help to deepen both. Many of our beloved poets write/wrote with deep spiritual convictions. Religious texts and chants are often filled with poetry (The Book of Psalms, for one), and a bit of research reveals the rich tradition of poetry in each religion. Many of our poetic methods and inspirations have descended directly from these collections. Thus poetry can enhance our spiritual lives in a variety of ways.
One way is our spiritual lives can be enhanced is by reading poetry - we are inspired by the thoughts of others, poured onto a page from their hearts. Personally I find that my heart and spirit can be touched by poets from numerous spiritual traditions. In fact, I have a wonderful book I glance through often.
The book includes the work of twelve of the world's finest spiritual writers, six from the East and six from the West. It includes Rumi's joyous, ecstatic love poems; St. Francis's loving observations of nature through the eyes of Catholicism; Kabir's wild, freeing humor that synthesizes Hindu, Muslim, and Christian beliefs; St. Teresa's sensual verse; and the mystical, healing words of Hafiz. Regardless of the religious tradition or spiritual path, these poets offer timeless reflections on our relationship with the Sacred, sharing a common love of God with the ability to express it so beautifully.
Here is just one poem from that book -- and what I love about it? One does not know the religion of the writer.
IN MY SOUL by Rabia
there is a temple, a shrine, a mosque, a church
where I kneel.
Prayer should bring us to an altar where no walls or names exist.
Is there not a region of love where the sovereignty is
where ecstasy gets poured into itself
where the wing is fully alive
but has no mind or
there is a temple, a shrine, a mosque,
that dissolve, that
Another way our spiritual lives can be enhanced is by writing poetry. Whether we want to express our gratitude and praise to a Creator, or we need to find our way through a "dark night of the soul," writing poetry can be just the avenue to do so. In 2002 I had not written any poetry for a very long time when I found out that my father was dying of cancer. I had just joined WDC (at what turned out to be the perfect time for me) and I was fortunate to be able to express my pain, lament to God, and work through my grief by a return to poetry. I celebrated 19 years as a member of WDC just last week.
Whether you read or write poetry, or both, I hope you will take advantage of a great opportunity to nurture and bless your spiritual path during National Poetry Month. If you do write some poetry this month, feel free to share it with me, and I will share it in the comments next month.
~ Sophy v.2021
Rabia was a 8th Century Sufi Muslim woman
Below you'll find some spiritual offerings from other WDC members. Please let the folks know if you read their piece by leaving a thoughtful comment or review.
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Here is a response to my last newsletter "Spiritual Newsletter (March 3, 2021)" about "Shaking the Family Tree:"
From Mia - in motion
I always look forward to your editorials. This one is no exception. Thank you for sharing your journey in delving into your ancestry, as well as what that journey meant to you.. Much appreciated.
Thank you so much!
Please keep your comments and suggestions coming! Until next time! Sophy v.2021
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