With Elizabeth Rovere

We read to see what happens, not what happens next.



Contemplative reading allows our eyes to open on the inside, and for the heart to speak. This is less common in a culture that conditions us to look outside of ourselves for solutions and meaning. In this class, we look within, we listen to the text, and what awakens within ourselves. We share our reflections within the group, and meaning is deepened within community. Through the art of contemplative reading and reflection, we are engaged creatively, associatively, and intuitively. Reason and analysis take a back seat. Through this process, we aim to cultivate awareness, wisdom, and integration. And as the great sages say, we aim to bring greater awareness and wisdom into our daily actions.

We will focus on authors, spiritual and secular, ancient and modern, and somewhere in between Kabir, Lama Yeshe, Rosemerry Wahtolla Trommer, Terry Tempest Williams, and Danusha Laméris. Our texts are mostly poetry, as poetry is the sacred secular, and contemplative by nature. And we will have a little bit of prose!

The art of Contemplative Reading is known as cintya-bhavana in India and lectio-divina in the West. In medieval times, monks and nuns would read and reflect upon the impact of a sacred text on their minds, bodies, hearts, and spirits. Often, a felt response awakened a greater sense of meaning and appreciation for life. Contemplatives were able to access deeper layers of intuitive wisdom missed through reading analysis and a more left-brain engagement. In this practice, we read to see what is happening, not what happens next!

The practice involves listening to passages read aloud while in a meditative state. Practitioners are cued to listen for words or phrases that stand out and to relate the passage to things they have read or experienced in their lives. Reading comes alive through a meditative practice that often renders one aware of the present, where one’s own history and future aspirations coalesce in the moment and often in synch with the text. Discussion and sharing within the group ensue, and we see what wakes up and becomes more present.

For registration questions, contact Geri Loizzo geri@nalandainstitute.org


Consider the following:

Are you looking for me, I am sitting right next to you. — Kabir

You must recognize that your real enemy, the thief who steals your happiness, is the one inside your mind. — Lama Yeshe

Don’t you wish they would stop, all the thoughts
swirling around in your head, bees in a hive, dancers
tapping their way across the stage? — Danusha Laméris

The Earth is what we all have in common. — Wendell Berry

To be whole. To be complete. Wildness reminds us what it means to be human, what we are connected to rather than what we are separate from.— Terry Tempest Williams

It happens surprisingly fast, the way your shadow leaves you. — Rosemerry Wahtolla Trommer



  • Learn the art of contemplative reading : cintya bhavana / lectio divina.
  • Become acquainted with the work Kabir, Lama Yeshe, Danusha Laméris, Rosemerry Wahtolla Trommer, Wendell Berry, and Terry Tempest Williams.
  • Be able to apply this technique to other forms of reading.


The Readings

Participants are recommended to find the readings from the following books or websites;
Thinking by Danusha Laméris
Word Woman Books
Kabir, Ecstatic Poems, trans. Robert Bly, Beacon Press 2007
Finding Beauty in a Broken World, Terry Tempest Williams, 2009
The Peace of Wild Things, Wendell Berry, Penguin
Introduction to Tantra, Lama Yeshe, 2014, Wisdom Publications



Faculty: Elizabeth Rovere
Schedule: 2023 October 2nd, 9th and 16th, from 6:30 – 8:00pm ET
Tuition: Regular fee: $90 / Supported fee: $60
The tuition is for all three sessions. (Can’t make all 3 dates? Each session is recorded and will be available for 6 weeks for those who registered.)
Location: Online via Zoom

  • Session 1
     October 2, 2023
     6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
  • Session 2
     October 9, 2023
     6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
  • Session 3
     October 16, 2023
     6:30 pm - 8:00 pm


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