Speed Reading

Schools are having end-of-year graduations and celebrations. It seems as if activities are happening so quickly they are overlapping, making it difficult to fully enjoy each one. In middle school (then called junior high school), I remember lessons in speed reading. I’m sure this is a helpful tool to learn, but I could never grasp this concept; wanting to make sure I read and understood every word. “What words did I miss?” my mind seemed to say as I forced my eyes to move side to side, as if traversing on a ski slope down the page.

Occasionally I read something out loud; not often though. When I visit the monastery and recite psalms with the monks, I am forced to slow down with every spoken word. Chanting is another way to pause and savor using our voices. No speed reading here!

Virtually all spiritual paths begin their training with breath and tone—conscious breathing, following the breath, vibrating the mantra—and for good reason: these are the actual tools and technologies for engaging and energizing our more subtle inner being.

Poetry, like chant, is meant to vibrate through the uniqueness of our own voice for it to come alive. Don’t take my word for it! Find your favorite poem and see if it becomes real in a new way when you say the words out loud. ~ Cynthia Bourgeault

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