Discussion Questions, Storytelling, Sharing

  • Describe a recent situation where you consciously asked yourself, what is the meaning of this? What did you learn?
  • Talk about a book, movie, lecture, or retreat experience that gave you a fresh understanding of the spiritual meanings in the ordinary.
  • What elements of contemporary culture serve as blocks or obstacles to your interest in the spiritual practice of meaning? How do you deal with them?

Imagery Exercise

Another exercise from Colette Aboulker-Muscat is designed to help you identify the meaning of a physical symptom, such as a sore knee or a tightness in your throat. She believes a symptom is always an indication of a need for a change.

Breathe out three times. Be aware of some physical symptom you are experiencing. Try to increase the symptom by focusing on it. Then eliminate this symptom by gradually feeling the reduction of the symptom--by letting go of it, by forgetting it, by fighting it, by explaining in what way it has to change. Feel the reduction of the symptom in the way that is best for you until it disappears.

Breathe out one time. Be open to being aware of the message this symptom is sending to you. Be aware of what message it is sending to others. Be honest about whether you are willing to make the change that the message is giving you. When you feel you have received the message, open your eyes.

Journal Exercises

At one time or another, we all have to ask whether spiritual meaning is found in security or risk, certainty or doubt. In your journal, make a list of the places where you have looked for meaning. Make a second list of the places where you haven't looked. Write the reasons why you have looked where you have and not looked elsewhere.

An epiphany is a sudden and often surprising realization of the meaning of something — a "light bulb" or "aha!" experience. It might be a new understanding of yourself or a perception of reality that you never considered before. Many of the passages in Spiritual Literacy were chosen because they had an "aha!" quality for us. Make your own collection of epiphanies and copy them into your journal.