Introduction (pp. 1-15)
"Through poetry, we gain greater self-understanding as well as insight into others in our world and into our world itself. It helps us discover the world anew, as if for the very first time--again and again--as each one of us must."
"As spiritual poet Robert Bly described our time: '...the impulse for reverence endures... Reclaiming the sacred in our lives naturally brings us close once more to the wellsprings of poetry."
"Spiritual practice helps us clear space and create order out of confusion, but spiritual poetry practice makes possible even greater discernment, clarity, and attention to detail."
"Robert Frost said that poetry doesn't so much tell us anything new, but reminds us of things that we need to know but forgot."
"Poetry as spiritual practice leads to stillness, the calm center where you are most open and alive. Poetry itself makes you more mindful, and as you become so, you gracefully reconnect with the natural world. Through poetry as spiritual practice, you become a more confident communicator and a more attentive, compassionate listener. Mindfully using applications of poetry can create patience and greater harmony among friends, in families and professions."
I. The Shape of Practice, the Mystery of Poetry
1. Clearing Obstacles: Joyful Rituals of Poetry as Practice (pp. 19-37)
2. Nursery Rhymes, Chants, and Hymns: Early Encounters with Poetry as Practice (pp. 38-52)
3. The Shape of Practice (pp. 53-71)
"How would praying [poetry]work, how would it feel?"
"Learning any skill--spiritual skills, poetry skills, life skills--is made possible and enhanced by mentorships that affect us even when we are not wholly aware of them."
"That is how you survive. Slow down, be patient, learn everything you can about your surroundings. Observe. W0ork steadily. Be ready."
Natural-world mentoring is common in stories of spiritual quests in our daily lives."
Shaping spiritual practice requires effort, and work itself is an honorable spiritual activity. Poetry's role in this work can determine in large part the depth and range of practice, for it is poetry that most deliciously sharpens the senses, heightening awareness and presence in the moment."
"...survival lies in sanity, and sanity lies in paying attention."
"The quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention."
"Once a mentor's voice is inside you, it's always there to be listened to; it adds depth, wisdom, and artfulness to your own voice."...Continua