A spiritual experience related by many is encounters with the “deep text.”

In scripture reading that comes when someone is reading and encounters a passage or a series of chapters with intense meaning, puts down a book mark and when they go back to read that section again, finds that the reading they completed is not in the printed text.

Instead they have read and received knowledge and healing from what is sometimes referred to as the “deep text” or the unwritten text. Most of those who report such an encounter had profound connection with the divine associated with it where they made contact with the real meaning of the scripture they were reading.

Many people encounter this in the temple as well, to where they are unaware of the surface text altogether at times.

I’ve come to learn that there is also a deep text in many human interactions.  It is the message that exists beyond or other than what the spoken words express.  I’ve noticed it with my wife.  The constant deep text, regardless of her words, is that she loves me more than I can understand and that she wants me to be successful and happy.

The opposite to the deep text is the false text.  In the essay “The Most Dangerous Stories We Make Up” author Berne Brown had the following to say about the false text — a reading we create that is not there — when it is applied to ourselves:

The most dangerous stories we make up are the narratives that diminish our inherent worthiness. We must reclaim the truth about our lovability, divinity, and creativity

Lovability: Many of my research participants who had gone through a painful breakup or divorce, been betrayed by a partner, or experienced a distant or uncaring relationship with a parent or family member spoke about responding to their pain with a story about being unlovable—a narrative questioning if they were worthy of being loved.

This may be the most dangerous conspiracy theory of all. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past thirteen years, it’s this: Just because someone isn’t willing or able to love us, it doesn’t mean that we are unlovable.

Divinity: Research participants who shared stories of shame around religion had less in common than most people guess. No specific denomination has emerged as more shaming in my work; however, there is a strong pattern worth noting. Over half of the participants who talked about experiencing shame in their faith histories also found resilience and healing through spirituality.

The majority of them changed their churches or their beliefs, but spirituality and faith remain important parts of their lives. They believed that the sources of shame arose from the earthly, man-made, human-interpreted rules or regulations and the social/community expectations of religion rather than their personal relationships with God or the divine.

Our faith narratives must be protected, and we must remember that no person is ordained to judge our divinity or to write the story of our spiritual worthiness.

She wrote that people find a false text even in spirituality and faith.  The false text is the story we tell ourselves that is not true, and it is the one that hurts us the most.  When someone is told “you look great” and they hear “you are fat and ugly” they have been overcome by the false text.

I’ve been contrasting the two texts, the deep text and the false text, in relationships and in life.

That leads me to some questions for our readers today.

  1. What deep texts do you have?
  2. What false texts afflict you?
  3. Have you been able to separate tradition and spirituality to find healing and resilience — and if you did, how did you do it?
  4. Have you ever had someone misread the text that is you?
  5. Have you ever misread someone else?
  6. How do you find the deep text in your life?