What are the 7 C’s of the spiritual practice of study?
In March, we are exploring how the practice of study as a spiritual discipline strengthens our faith. Each month on my Thursday posts, I pick one theme (or person of faith) to explore deeper. I call this series Tending the Holy Thursdays.
The first two weeks we looked deeper into the practice of study and today will unpack three of the 7 C’s of study: Curiosity, Commitment, and Concentrate.
As usual I created a free download for you and this month it is something different – an infographic called “The 7 C’s of the Practice of Study.” You can get this infographic for your reference and even use as a bookmark at no cost by clicking on the button at the end of the post. It is my hope and prayer that this series and the download will enhance your walk with God.
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The Spiritual Practice of Study – Curiosity
Don’t you love watching a toddler explore the world? Kids have a natural curiosity, questioning and wonder attitude.
How do we lose the skill of curiosity? How do we begin to wonder again?
As adults, we quit looking and wondering. We judge, we hurry, we complete a chore and move on. We focus more on our plans than live in the present moment. We close down to what can be discovered right before our very eyes.
Curiosity expands the mind and nourishes the spirit. Curiosity broadens our point of view and brings us joy as we learn something new. Curiosity enriches our lives with delight and wisdom.
Here are three tips to build curiosity in your life:
- Find questions that open your mind and apply questions as a daily practice: What if? What does this make possible? What would happen if…? In your daily interactions, is there something new to ask that person you encounter?
- Observe something new each day. Write what you see as new again in a journal. What adventures wait for us every morning.
- Find a topic that interests you and learn something new. Two years ago, I wanted to know more about the Desert Mothers and Fathers. I found a few good books, purchased a notebook and scheduled an hour once a week (to be honest I didn’t always keep that appointment with myself but did many weeks) to read, take notes and go deeper with this topic. I am still learning about them even today.
Exercise curiosity daily.
The Spiritual Practice of Study – Commitment
Now that you are cultivating curiosity as a practice, commit to plan time to study, play, and explore.
- Block time on your calendar for a study time, a trip to the museum, to read. Get a basket for books to read and a notebook and favorite pen ready.
- Strive for a daily dose of discovery.
- Forgive yourself if you forget and start again.
- Set a goal: I will learn more about _________ by the end of July.
- Journal about what holds you back from learning. What blocks your way?
- Embark on a learning adventure with a buddy.
How will you commit to study in 2017?
The Spiritual Practice of Study – Concentrate
As I grow older and society gets noisier, my concentration decreases. Anyone else notice that?
I found I read better holding a book, not my kindle, and using a highlighter – the physical act of using the pen on the page helps me focus and reread a sentence I want to remember.
I started keeping a notebook this year so all the notes I take from a webinar are in one place. I concentrate and remember a book I read better when I summarize its contents and take at least one nugget to chew on by writing it out in another notebook.
Rewriting the info in a notebook is a form of repetition – a great technique for improving concentration. This process also slows me down – another concentration booster.
Some people do well with music or white noise in the background; I need it quiet to concentrate.
Here’s a good article about training your mind for concentration.
We can teach ourselves to concentrate better. It takes practice, practice, and more practice. Here is a great article with tips for strengthening our concentration muscles.
What tips helps you to concentrate?
Next week I’ll feature the remaining C’s. Don’t forget to download the infographic about the 7 C’s of the Practice of Study by clicking on the button below.
The first three of the 7 C’s of practice of study are curiosity, commitment and concentration. How will you work on these traits the coming weeks? What would help you the most as you explore the practice of study?
Hi Jean! I was just listening to a youtube interview with James Taylor (swoon), and he did talk about the great challenge of finding enough silence to have a cogent thought. He was talking about songwriting, but really, it could be applied to prayer and to life too.
How do we concentrate on anything when our lives are so fast, full and loud? Stepping back into the quiet is a first step to finding clarity…the second step is the patience to wait for it.
Loved this, as usual!
Jean Wise says
Interesting that James Taylor talked about that. I love silence – as evidence in my recent silent retreat. I can finally hear myself. and hear God. It takes me though 24-30 hours to get settled into the silence. I get impatient and want to speed up the process but silence descends at its own pace. Good insight you had connected that interview with prayer. Lovely thought
Nancy Ruegg says
I never would have thought of all those positive aspects of curiosity. Interesting and affirming! It’s also interesting how many of your study habits match my own! Highlighters, paper, and pen are never far from my books either. I keep quotes and notes in journals and notebooks. And I revel in study, learning, and discovery. Looking forward to the last four C’s of Spiritual Study to LEARN more!
Jean Wise says
No surprise here we match on some of our study habits. I really think curiosity is a key and something we really need to cultivate more.
Martha Orlando says
I love the idea of choosing a topic we want to learn more about, and diving into it in depth, Jean. I recently purchased a book about the Psalms, but haven’t yet delved into it. I think that will be my first “target” study under the Three C’s. Should be fun to read at the cabin, too!
And curiosity? So important! Approaching each day with child-like wonder, I believe, makes us feel young again as it boosts our awareness of the world around us.
Jean Wise says
Psalms would be a rich study and one that you would find lots of resources for. I would love to explore more about curiosity – I think it is a human characteristic we neglect. Have fun in the mountains. Keep your eyes open to learn something new!