How Reading Spiritual Texts Can Aid our Progress
Not long ago I have seen a documentary where a certain mystic have said that for someone to advance spiritually, they have to do three things: meditate, pray, and read spiritual texts. Although in Gnosis we would expand on that, there is a lot of truth in what that person has said, because all these three things can certainly help us a lot along the path – meditation helps us to experience the depths of consciousness and our inner potential; prayer enables us to form a connection with divinity and receive divine energy for help to our work, and reading spiritual texts gives us information and inspiration. Of course, there is much more to each of these three aspects of the work, and in this article I will expand a little more on the aspect of reading spiritual texts.
I think that a lot of people who are interested in the mysteries of life, death, and the Universe, have noticed that reading about such things from deep sources gives them a certain something; something that moves them to further thought, or gives them inspiration, or opens them up to be more attentive to perceive the mysteries around them (although on the conscious level they may not be aware that attentiveness for that particular purpose is taking place).
By genuine or deep texts (particularly spiritual texts) I am referring to texts that have come from people whose spiritual advancement goes beyond that of ordinary folks, those who have entered the physical life with a mission of teaching humanity about spiritual truths, or people who have dedicated their lives to serving through their spiritual progress and the alignment with higher laws. These men and women have throughout history been referred to as philosophers, spiritual masters, adepts, arhats, avatars, prophets, saints, gurus, shamans, dervishes, seekers etc.; there are many names and ranks for such people, but what they all have in common is that they have taken seriously the predicament in which they or the humanity is finding themselves, have understood about the higher purpose of life, and are dedicated to work in line with the forces of light and good, for the unfoldment of spiritual evolution. Not everyone, however, who has been proclaimed a saint or a guru, has reached true spiritual heights. Even if the majority of those have a strong devotion, or have temporarily reached a deeper state of consciousness, or acquired some inner power, that does not mean that they have attained the heights of spiritual insight, clarity of perception, and the strength of their inner Being. Even less so in the capitalistic era, where many spiritual writers are to large extent profit-driven.
It is thought by many people that we should read ancient and modern spiritual texts because the sages who wrote them have already figured everything out, so we only need to follow that. But this is wrong because, even if the information is accurate, such approach gives way to dogmatic acceptance and following. It is much better to develop conscious faith and arrive to direct experience of knowledge.
When we read spiritual texts or books from people who have attained real spiritual heights, we receive much more than just an information. The latter is of course important, especially if the subject is a guidance that should be followed precisely in order to realize a spiritual goal; or if the information is related to a subject that can increase our intellectual understanding about it so that we can search for its deep meaning in meditation or higher dimensions; but apart from that, we can still gain a lot by reading a book or a text written by above mentioned men and women. When we read some of such texts, we are exposed to the astral and mental (and even spiritual, if we are receptive enough) atmosphere of the author; we enter into their inner spheres and can connect to them in profound ways. Depending on our own openness and spiritual sensitivity, through this connection we might, to a certain degree, draw from the same spiritual energy in which the author was/is immersed. This can add to our understanding of timelessness, we can get deeper insights about what we are studying, and receive a special inspiration. In order to receive all that, it is necessary to be grounded in the present moment when reading the text, being in the state of self-remembrance, self-observing, feeling the essence as we read the text. When our essence or consciousness is in such a clear and heightened state, it taps to the unity of life, to the state where time and place have different meanings, and this is how the connection to the author’s energy takes place, and therefore how insights, intuition and knowledge can reach us.
By using the same method, we can also sense if the book we are reading is written by someone who is immersed in darker parts of their psyche, and then we can either stop reading such a book or not allow ourselves to be influenced by it. At the very least we can (and should) in such case close ourselves from receiving any energetic influence. Reading texts from such authors have its risks and tolls for our spiritual climb, which is why it is not recommended spending time reading them.
In one of his books, Samael Aun Weor have said that through his books, a communication occurs between him and the reader. I find this to be very true, and very helpful. The channel of communication does not only open through prayer, meditation, and out-of-body experiences, but can very much be established through reading too, precisely because of the entering into author’s mental and spiritual sphere for a prolonged period of time, though even just brief reading can make an effect on our psyche if we are in a suitable spiritual state.
Reading a spiritual text can be a great boost to our daily practices; it doesn’t matter much if the text or the book you read is very ancient, medieval, or more recent, as long as it is written (or passed down) by genuine spiritual people. These can be texts such as the collection of texts of the Nag Hammadi Library, or texts such as The Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Pyramid text, the Rig Veda, the Dhammapada, or the philosophy of ancient Greece and Rome, or medieval texts of the Kabbalists and Christian mystics, or something written by spiritual teachers of more recent time, etc. Whatever it is, if we feel drawn to it we can pick up the book and start reading, being open for whatever comes out of it. We can gain a lot from this, even if we don’t (fully) understand what the text is about, because there is a possibility of having a spiritual experience of a deeper side of life, to which the author was or is connected.
HDP, March 2021