Recently a friend asked me:
What is “contemplative reading”? Is it just “thinking about” what you have read?
My shorthand answer was this:
We read for lots of different reasons: to be entertained, to acquire information, to analyze, to build arguments, to escape, etc. But when we read contemplatively, we read to reflect upon our own lives. We engage the big questions– the un-Googleable questions: How may I live with more peace and joy? How may I deal with despair?
But there’s more!
I suggest that contemplative reading-– whatever it looks like–
- Requires a faith in text’s capacity to have meaning
- Features first-person critical practices
- Aims at transforming habitual ways of being, thinking, doing
This weekend I’ll be convening a one-hour workshop on contemplative reading at the 10th Annual Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education conference. There I’ll propose these broad contours and facilitate a conversation to help synthesize and shape this aspect of the emerging field of Contemplative Studies.
What are your thoughts? Let’s collaborate!