More About Lectio Divina and Haiku

Here’s more about the practice of lectio divina, and more about writing haiku, with links to more and more…

About Lectio Divina

Lectio divina is a way of experiencing God’s presence in scripture. Widely practiced in the early Christian church, it involves reading a passage of scripture slowly and prayerfully, listening for God’s voice, and using the language of the passage in prayer.

Traditionally, lectio divina has four steps:

  • Reading a chosen passage of scripture slowly, usually aloud; listening through the passage for the voice of God; hearing in the passage the particular word or phrase that speaks to you now.
  • Meditating on that word or phrase; letting it speak through thoughts, memories, hopes, and dreams.
  •  Praying with that word or phrase; holding it up to God along with yourself.
  •  Falling silent and resting in the presence of God.

As literacy increased over the centuries and people took to reading silently – and quickly – to themselves, the widespread practice of lectio divina declined. But the tradition was kept alive in monasteries and convents as part of practicing awareness of God’s presence at all moments of life. Today, lectio divina is again being taught and practiced in church communities.

For a more in-depth discussion of the history and practice of lectio divina, see www.valyermo.com/ld-art.html.

About Haiku

Haiku is a Japanese verse form known for distilling the essence of a moment in time and place through strong nature imagery.

Most haiku in English consist of three brief, unrhymed lines. Traditional haiku in English follows a convention of five, seven, and five syllables for each line. Many haiku written today are even shorter. A successful haiku relies not on exact syllable count, but on close attention to a momentary image and the feeling it evokes.

Temple bells die out.
The fragrant blossoms remain.
A perfect evening!
– Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694), from “Haiku for People” at www.toyomasu.com/haiku

a big firefly
lightly, nimbly
passes by
– Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828), trans. by David G. Lanoue from http://haikuguy.com/issa/

dark, dark night
a leaf strikes the pavement
stem first
– Christopher Herold, from Inside Out, Red Moon Press, 2010

Haiku writers and societies can be found all around the world. If you live in America, you can find other haiku writers near you through the web site for the Haiku Society of America.

For a guide to writing haiku as a spiritual practice, you might be interested in Margaret’s book, Haiku – The Sacred Art.

For links to more haiku resources, see the Resources page.