Over the past several years, I have been drawn to reading about and practicing contemplative prayer. However, I often find my mind wandering away from any kind of focus. I might start out with a plan to keep my heart and mind on sending compassion to those in the world who are in pain. But I soon find myself distracted by everyday stuff like, “I wonder if I can fit in a nap today?” or “Hmm, what do we have for lunch?” or maybe, “Why am I thinking about this stuff?” (Richard Rohr calls this our ‘monkey mind’).
I have found that being out in nature has been one of the ways I can find my way to a kind of focus. I find myself feeling awestruck and amazed by all the world God has created.
So many things in the natural world are simply fascinating. I have been astonished at the way bald eagle parents communicate through just a few sounds to make sure their eaglets are fed. How does that work???
And tiny buds on trees and plants in the spring amaze me and so do the Northern Lights, the geometry of snowflakes, and just thinking about the crazy variety of butterflies, birds, mammals, fish and, well, everything! I am in awe of all of nature.
When I experience awe like this, I find myself thanking God for the wonderful and mind-boggling ways everything in the universe was created to work with every other thing in the universe. And that brings me to being grateful that we are all here for each other and how we, too, have so many opportunities to work together for good. Soon prayers seem to just spill out of my mind in thanks, praise, wonder, love and worship for this entire miraculous world we have been gifted with and for its creator.
Here's one way I get ready for an awesome walk. I invite you to try it: Before you go out, take a deep breath and ask God to prepare you to see with new, wide-open eyes. Then head out and enjoy. I am guessing you will find lots to marvel at!!
In joy and peace, Denise :O)