Paula SchneiderI really hope by sharing my process that I can help others to be able to better understand what might be scholarly or deep articles. When I worked in another state as a Nursing Consultant, our section was often required to read and critique legislation that, one might say, was almost impossible to comprehend. Just tossing it back to my supervisor without a response was not an option, so I had to figure out a way, a process, to begin to understand paragraphs that sometimes contained grammatically incorrect sentences interspersed with sentences that may have been purposely written to be confusing or abstract.
What I did to solve my problem was to force myself to slowly read the paragraphs as many times as it took. Amazingly, after a few reads, I became more familiar with the text and always, without fail, I eventually understood it. That sure felt good—to master and overcome a very real problem. Incidentally, when we checked the reading level of some legislation, it was approximately the 16th grade, and sometimes higher. (The average reader in America reads at the 5th grade level.)
Today I am reflecting back over that time because this morning I encountered an article of a different nature that was written in a style that did not appeal to me. Consequently, I tuned some of it out as Larry read it to me. That didn’t help much either. But after he finished reading it, we had a discussion about my dislike, not of the key points brought up in the article, but of the sentence structure. I felt determined to master this article, as he felt it contained really important spiritual information. The dissection began.
I slowly read the article to myself, and I highlighted the key words, sentence portions, and important points that I felt the author was trying to emphasize. Then I read only those portions to myself. And guess what? I found the pearls! I have to tell you it was a wonderful feeling. Now, I must say that some other reader might find different jewels than the ones I found. But here were mine (the bold statements are directly from the article):
1. We are to be identified with the mystery of God utterly beyond all concepts, all words, all designations whatsoever. Deepak Chopra might instruct us to identify with the gaps between your thoughts, not the thoughts. For me, it means to not perseverate on life events, memories, fleeting thoughts, emotions, etc., but to concentrate instead on the great allness that holds the entirety of life in place. These passing events and thoughts are ever-changing and fleeting, whereas the mystery never changes. Always focus on the never changing.
2. This Mystery gives itself to us completely in every breath and heartbeat. It is always there. As a panentheist, I believe it is not possible for us to be outside of it. The mystery, for me, is my constant.
3. We then bear witness to that realization by the way we treat ourselves, the way we treat others, the way we treat all living things. I believe that as we embrace the first two, number three (the way we relate to ourselves and others) begins to change in wonderful and dramatic ways. This, actually, is the new earth that Eckhart Tolle explains for us so eloquently in A New Earth.
I offer this technique to help others understand material that they may tend to toss aside or ignore because the reading level may be too high. It is worth it to delve into most writings, even though you may feel they are too much for your brain. I encourage you to give my techniques a try. I’d love to hear how they worked for you.