Stef (firecat) wrote,

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Reading as spiritual practice

Here is something I wrote in jenett's journal.

She wrote:

For those of you who hold religious or spiritual beliefs, do you think that reading about the subject is a good thing for you/a thing you think you should be doing, or do you think that reading about religion/spirituality is bad/undermines your own faith?

An important part of my spiritual practice is reading the writings of Westerners who have studied/practiced Buddhism as adults.

But I really don't like reading much about paganism or shamanism, the other aspects of my spiritual practice.

I did read a lot about paganism when I was first learning about it, but I got burned out on reading about it. The doing part of it appeals to me more. I don't even like to talk about it very much.

I don't think it's bad, in an objective sense, to read about paganism. And "faith" doesn't describe my pagan views. But reading about paganism does tend to undermine my connection to paganism. If I read about it, it starts to seem foolish somehow.

I read a little bit on shamanism, but learning it in workshops seems to work better for me than reading about it. I like to talk about it, but mostly only in a teaching context or in a sharing-experiences context. I can't stand arguments about techniques or dogma (examples on requst, for those who can't quite envision what a shamanic dogma would be, *grin*).

I was raised Christian, and I have developed a renewed interest in it lately (although I don't consider myself to practice it). I did a lot of reading on the history of Christianity in college and in my university press job in my 20s. But I don't like reading about Christianity very much either -- I much prefer to ask people questions about it. (I might be asking online and thus reading the answers, but that's different from reading books about it.)

I have read here and there in Judaism, another religion that is part of my life (my OH's family are practicing Jews and I participate in some of the family rituals), but mostly have learned what I know about it from people who were raised in it.

[I had never thought about the differences in the way I approach those things, and I find it fascinating. Some people go "Oh, I am visual-kinesthetic in how I learn" or whatever. I don't seem to be any particular thing, preferentially.]

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