Thursday, November 17, 2011

Morning Walk

Dear Urban Abbey Members and Friends:
I LOVE the way Steve Garnaas-Holmes paints such vivid pictures with words.  His first paragraph gives a prescription for being present to each moment of the day.  How wonderful that sounds to give such focus and acknowledgment to the presence of ‘God with us’.  Could I live such that my mind is so uncluttered with worry, envy, greed, pride that I can give my full attention to what is before and around me as I go through my day?  That is my goal.

But, in his second paragraph, Steve reminds us that we are fallible humans and will perhaps fail in being really present – my mind has wandered and skipped about to other things even as I write this.  With God’s grace, we can return to the present…and the more we practice this, the more we can remain in the present.  As Steve points out, we can work at being present to God no matter where we are or what we’re doing.

What speaks to you in Steve’s meditation?  I invite you to share your thoughts and insights with the Community.

Shalom and blessings, George

Dearly Beloved,
Grace and Peace to you.

Each morning I begin the day with a walk in the woods.  It's not for exercise, though I sometimes go quite a distance, nor to walk the dog, though he comes along.  It's to begin the day by being on the earth, being in a body, being alive.  I practice being there, and not being somewhere else in my head.  I use my senses, taking in what is around me.  I look at everything and notice stuff.  I notice the trees, the colors and textures and shapes and shades.  I notice the air, and how warm or cold it is, the wind, the clouds, the moon.  I notice gravity, and how my body works with it.  I feel my breathing.  I listen to the little sounds, the conversations of the grasses, the birds, the brooks beneath the other sounds of distant traffic and planes.  I'm not analyzing, judging or thinking.  I am simply mindful of being a mammal moving across the ground, moving through the presence of God, being alive.
Oh, I'm not Thich Nhat Hanh.  My mind wanders.  I think of the coming day, or imagine some silly scene, or carry on some argument with an imaginary person.  But then, by grace, I return. I come back into the woods.  I return to the present.  Sometimes it takes a while, but I get there.

I've discovered you can do this anywhere, whether or not you have woods.  In cities and suburbs, alone or in crowds, you can pay attention.  You can begin the day by being mindful, paying attention, returning moment by moment to the present, here and now.  Even in this moment, sitting at your computer, you can stop and look around, or close your eyes and breathe.  You can be alive.  Sometimes that is enough.  Sometimes it is important that that is enough.

Deep Blessings,
Pastor Steve

Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Unfolding Light

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