Reverence for Life?
Walking along the Dolores River this afternoon, I was awed by the silence of the river flowing under the ice that covered it. I was also touched by the gurgling mystery of open water that showed itself along the way. I stopped, sat on a boulder and listened for an eternity to the natural sounds of flowing water streaming down the river bed into the waiting reservoir both above and below the ice that covered it. The unbidden word that came was ‘reverence,‘ which pointed to a spaciousness that is ever present and divine.
Over the many decades of practicing prayer, meditation, contemplation and receptivity, I can no longer live life unreflectively or devote myself to a life without reverence. The value of affirming Life, deepening it, remaining within while going out and listening deeply to its’ subtleties continue to prompt my will to live with more aliveness in the mystery that is the source of all true creativity and exploration. A moment here turns into a lifetime as time ceases to exist in the flow of a river turning into sacred awe!
For me, Winter is one of the most soulful seasons of the year as it’s so unpredictable and mysterious. One day can be sunny and warm while another day can be cloudy, cold and snowy. The contrast is like Life itself with the many changes that make up a day, week, month, year and lifetime. When I was a child, I thought like a child, acted like a child, talked like a child and now that I am a grandfather, I’m different. In fact, each day has become different as I wander through this unfolding mystery called Life.
It seems that without knowing it, I’ve followed Ralph Waldo Emerson’s advice to not go where the path may lead, but to go instead where there is no path and leave a track. How about you, is life a mystery for you? Are you experiencing more aliveness as you explore your outer and inner nature, your innate creativity? How often are you open to experience “Reverence for Life” and “Sacred Awe?” When was the last time you spent any time in a place where there were no other people, no unnatural noises?
One of the wonders of Winter is that most people don’t venture out in it. The places that are crowded in the spring, summer and autumn are often deserted in the winter. The cold, snow and ice seem to act as buffers to the other season’s paths while opening themselves to new paths for those who want to make them. Might this be you? Are you willing to boldly venture out into the cold, snow and ice beyond your comfort zone to experience a new reverence, awe and aliveness; a new comfort zone?
It doesn’t have to be a big deal. It can be as simple as taking a walk on a snowy day while everyone else is trying to stay indoors. It could be in your neighborhood, in the nearest park, in your own yard. All you have to do is bundle up with a warm coat, have non slip boots on your feet, gloves on your hands, a warm hat on your head and an inner desire to experience a new reverence, a childlike awe and joyful aliveness in the moment. Find a bench, a place to sit and simply enjoy the mystery of the moment.
The point here is not the physical exercise, it’s the mental, emotional and spiritual exercise you’ll be engaging. It’s about communing with Nature in all her splendor, being apart of the elements rather than being apart from them. It’s an experience in finding your own path in the midst of Nature’s path that opens your heart, mind and soul to the mysteries and joys of Life. Stop now for a moment and imagine this for yourself. What’s the resistance, the receptivity, the resolve? Are you ready for a new experience?
The experience can be a kind of ‘holy simplicity‘ within the awe and wonder of Life’s movements. Being part of Winter in this way leads to a real sense of renewal, a generative movement that holds dear the nurturing nature of Winter. It’s allowing ourselves to be held by the Source in a new way, a wonder-full way, a light hearted way, a private and intimate way. Edna O’Brien says it this way: “In a way Winter is the real Spring; the time when the inner things happen, the resurgence of nature.” What do You say? Are you willing to be nurtured, awed; to discover a Reverence for Life in Winter?
- Reread the last three paragraphs and ponder the mystery. Ask yourself: What does this moment ask of me? Stay with it until a simple answer comes and act on it. . . .
- At least once this Winter go out while it’s snowing and simply walk and sit with the falling snow for a period of time. Relax, enjoy, feel the moment, the heaven that’s here in the falling snow, the silence, the solitude. Experience the Reverence for Life. . . .
- Ponder the mystery of making your own path, leaving tracks for others to follow until they discover their own wonder, awe, reverence and path of Life. . . .