What we are seeking to practise as we speak and listen when we meet is what we term spiritual literacy skills. These are a set of skills that help us to be more aware of what’s going on within when called on to speak and/or listen while engaging in a Logopraxis Life Group.
So in order to hear the Lord, which really is about hearing the spiritual principles that are being illustrated in each other’s experience, we need to be able to divide out our attention between what’s going on externally in the group and what’s arising inwardly so far as our responses are concerned. It’s not so much about listening to the words that a person is speaking but listening to what arises within in response to what they’re saying. It’s a state of divided attention.
And then there is also the work of attending to the activity of the proprium that comes up within us as we listen. So, someone might say something that triggers a sense of disagreement with what’s being said. Or we may find ourselves making internal judgements about someone’s submission or whether it carries too much superfluous material. Or we might find ourselves zoning out and not giving our attention to what’s being offered to the group.
All this happens. There’s always something to work with. So, it’s on all of us to be responsible group members to hold the principles of Logopraxis and how to meet in mind. To re-member them when we realise that our attention has gone – that we are no long present. There are no passive members in Logopraxis group life, we are effectively a work group. Spiritual work only happens if we value what we are seeking to bring into the world through being in a group. We all have a responsibility to the group and to each other but above all to the Lord to make an effort to stay awake to what the Spirit is saying to us. What we hear is not just for us, it’s for everyone in the group, it’s for the Lord in the hearts and minds of each other. That’s what’s being built up and nurtured when we are able to practise the skills for Logopraxis group life.
So, we each are responsible for our own work to stay present to the group and all that that entails. No one can do anyone else’s work for them but we can work for others, for the group and for Logopraxis more broadly. Every time we meet we are given a new opportunity to work to lift the quality of the contact through practising the spiritual literacy skills so necessary if a deeper sense of spiritual community is to be entered into. It’s not for us to judge whether others are working or not but we can work. We can be conscious, we can be present and at least attend to our part in what’s asked for. It’s really about trying to find a clean or clear space within from which we can bring something to the group, particularly in our Round 2 shares and that then can benefit everybody. So, we have this idea of removing person,place, time, and space which we do with the Text.
This is a skill – a core spiritual literacy skill for working with the letter of the Text. When we are more able to remove ideas of person, place, time and space from our reading of the Text we enter into a different relationship to it because we pass through the surface, literal meaning that holds the mind in natural things and moves it into what belongs to the life of the mind or spirit. We find that the letter of the Text points to something deeper. That it holds a different meaning within it that opens the door to understanding the Text in relation to the operation of the Word within the human mind as it works to regenerate it.
To remove ideas of person, place, time and space means to transpose the natural meaning of the words with their spiritual or correspondential meaning. When this is done, we read the words on the page but think in terms of what they correspond to. This shifts our understanding of things out of the natural world of material happenings that the literal meaning describes into descriptions of our mental processes and structures. To think correspondentially enables us to access the meaning of Text as it relates to the regeneration of the human mind, which means that if we are approaching the Word as the Lord, which means we are looking to shun evils as sins against Him, then the possibility of seeing how the Text might be applied to the life of the mind to do just that increases. The Word becomes meaningful or relevant in a whole new way, we could say where it really counts, in relation to our spiritual life.
But this skill involving the removal of person, place, time and space isn’t just limited to how we engage with the Word. It’s also something we can bring to our interactions with others in our Logopraxis Life Group or to any other contact for that matter. Although this probably is a little bit more difficult to do when we are listening to somebody speak. But then, no skill can be formed without practising it. And as was stated at the beginning, the Logopraxis Life Group is a practise group – it’s a container within which we have a ripe opportunity to consciously practise these skills. So, when people offer their submission in Round 1 it will be expressed using illustrations from their outer life involving people, situations, and circumstances, so, person, place, time and space, and within that will be spiritual content. The question when listening is,
How does what’s being said illustrate spiritual processes?
And/or principles in what another is saying that we all can use and apply to support our spiritual work?
If we can do this, we see beyond the person who speaking to the spiritual content. We’re listening for what is of the Lord/Word in what they are saying and when this is shared in Round 2 the group experiences the Word as the Lord being made visible.
To practise spiritual literacy skills when we meet or engage with others is a form of loving the neighbour from a Logopraxis perspective because the question is always, whether we are listening or speaking,
How does what I’m hearing or saying benefit everybody else in the group?
How does it support others in their work?
When we work in the group to hold the space in this way it becomes sacred because we are in the acknowledgement of the Lord present as the Word working in people’s lives. This is our spiritual worship.