‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’
If we fixate on anything we become dull… I certainly do when I go on about the virtues of the Chuckle Brothers. We need a balance to our lives. I am a firm believer that we need to keep in mind our physical, mental, social and spiritual aspects. We need to work the muscles in all four areas. Spirituality is one aspect that can get a little lost. It gets mixed up with religion, belief systems and arguments about the existence or non-existence of a divine being. Through writing and reading devotional material we can exercise our spiritual muscle. I have a simple checklist that can help if you want to write devotional or meditative material for yourself or others.
Writing for myself and others
I have written devotional material for many years. I have an interest in spirituality, theology and religion in general. I am also a bit of a spiritual magpie with regard to the spirituality of other belief systems, both religious and non-religious. I can be a little syncretistic at times, but that’s between me and my priest… well would it be if I did confession. I like that concept but don’t engage in it, or the denomination that uses it. See what I mean about interest.
There are many forms of devotional writing, but at their heart, to be really effective, they should contain the following elements. I use a similar checklist when writing material for my own tradition and belief system, however, I have adapted it so it can be used whatever you believe. The aim of this list is for you to write good effective material otherwise you won’t exercise your spiritual side.
You can use the following as a checklist if you write any sort of devotional or meditative material, or talks. It is not exhaustive and not every point will be relevant. Whether you are a priest, pastor, shaman, spiritualist, astrologer, tarot card reader, the list will help. It is all about connecting your reader, or listener, to the ‘other’ or something else. You can also use it if you don’t believe in any supernatural force, being or conspiracy. Simply replace the divine element with the universe and nature.
Effective devotional writing:
- Directs the reader
– to a closer relationship with the divine / other / nature / universe
– to engagement with sacred texts (even if you don’t adhere to what they say)
– to prayer / conversation
– to action / change
- Draws near to / identifies with the reader (shared experiences)
- Deals with matters of consequence (don’t let someone read what you write and then have them say, ‘so what?’)
- Is alive with human interest, drama and conflict
- Engages heart as well as head
To inspire your spirituality you can develop the following sources of inspiration
- A passion for the divine, sacred texts and spirituality, stars, tarot, elements, the universe
- A passion for others
– a keen observation of people in everyday life
– an active interest in what’s going on in the world
Develop our spiritual side
Writing spiritual and devotional material for others and for ourselves can be a fulfilling experience. It will develop our spiritual intelligence and whether we believe in something more than we can see or not, it will bring us closer to our own place and understanding in the big scheme of things. If we use the checklist above, what we write will be of benefit.
Anything to add?
Do you write spiritual and devotional material for others or yourself, if so is there anything else you’d like to add to the checklist?
* this checklist works for almost all writing that is shared with others, apart from the first point