Lectio for living: an exploration of mindful listening to poetic texts

Donald R. Marks, Jed Seltzer, Jeffrey P. Beck, Jennifer Block Lerner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In the ancient contemplative practice known as lectio divina, sacred texts were read slowly and carefully while listeners attended to the sounds of the performance. Rather than reading analytically for specific interpretations, participants in this mindful listening practice observed the sensory experience of sounds, allowing meanings to emerge in the mind of their own accord. Many mindfulness- and acceptance-based psychological interventions make use of similar poetry listening practices. This study examined state mindfulness among undergraduate students when listening to series of brief poetic texts. Several participant characteristics, including facets of dispositional mindfulness, psychological flexibility, self-compassion, and compassion for others, were examined as potential predictors of both state mindfulness during the practice and the perceived value of mindful listening. The “observing” facet of dispositional mindfulness significantly predicted both the “decentering” and “curiosity” dimensions of state mindfulness. Qualitative analyses revealed participants’ perspectives concerning their engagement in the experiential practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-106
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Poetry Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Psychology


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