I recognized scripture study as a valuable spiritual practice, but then wasn't sure what to do once I no longer saw the Bible or the Book of Mormon as the inspired Word of God. I recognized that there was a lot of good stuff in there, but it was mixed in with a lot of hooey. I've come to the conclusion that if you're in the right frame of mind and if you do some pondering, you can find meaning and value in imperfect scripture, but with the same consideration you can find those same textured layers of meaning in Homer or Hemingway or Harry Potter. I don't think the Bible is superior to Beowulf.
I've been in the habit lately of switching on my laptop first thing in the morning, much like the alcoholics in Isaiah 5:11 "that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink." (Or could "strong drink" be construed as coffee? I sure like mine strong, and one of the best parts about no longer being Mormon is drinking it guilt-free.) Then I check my email and Facebook fifty times a day. There was a recent New York Times article in which a group of psychologists and neuroscientists wanted to study the effects of heavy use of digital devices on the brain. One hypothesis was that even the anticipation of interruptions in the form of new emails or text messages (or blog comments, not that I don't love all your comments! In fact, I probably love them too much) eats into our working memory and reduces our capacity for clear, productive thinking. Parents of young children will recognize this "brain turned to mush" syndrome too, since the needs of little ones are constantly interrupting us.
What to do? How to maintain technology as a tool for my use without becoming addicted and weighed down by the mental clatter created by its overuse?
Two birds with one stone: I've decided I miss the ritual of taking time early in the morning to read and ponder wise words, so I'm reclaiming that. I'm going to start getting up before my kids to have some quiet time for reading. No computer until my oldest has been seen off to school. I started this morning, and it was nice. :-)
I really like this quote from the Dalai Lama:
Written by a psychologist and a historian, it examines our attitudes and beliefs about kindness, our tendency to be suspicious of kindness, and why we're hesitant to show kindness, even though we derive intense pleasure from doing so. I'll post a review when I'm finished.