Thursday, January 28, 2021

Be Still and Know I am God . . . Nature Meditations

 In today's modern world, we are always "busy."  Productivity is highly valued.  Sitting quietly and seemingly doing nothing can feel like a waste of time.  

From scripture:

Exodus 14:14 "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."

Nehemiah 8:11 "Be still for this is a holy day."

Psalm 37:7 "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him."

Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God."

The dictionary definition of still is "deep silence and calm." Another dictionary adds the word "tranquil." Other definitions:  "Not moving or in motion.  Free from disturbance, agitation, or commotion."

A couple of years ago I was introduced to the concept of "forest bathing."  No . . . this is NOT taking a bath in the forest, rather it is a methodology of being still and fully aware of your surroundings. It is a process of slowing down and becoming emersed in God's natural environment.  It is taking time to tune in to the smells, textures, tastes and sounds around us. Nature sounds, the scents of the flowers, the sight of sunlight hitting the hillsides, the fresh smell of rain, and the sounds of morning birdsong affect our body in positive ways. They comfort us and reduce our stress and our worries.  For me, it gives me a sense of joy.  It also helps us relax. More importantly it helps us to think more clearly. Time spent emerged in the  nature that God created restores our inner tranquility, gives us energy, washes our weariness away, and rejuvenates us for our other daiy tasks.  

I also find that when I take the time to do this type of meditation, that I often receive life lessons from the experience, insight that is very useful. 

I will be doing a series of posts with some examples. 

For today, I encourage you to find a place near you to go spend time outside.  It could be your backyard, it could be your local park.  Perhaps there is a creek or river near you.  The first time you do this it may seem difficult, but practice doing this.  Once you have found your place, sit or stand quietly for 10 or 15 minutes.  Notice what is around you. Notice the breeze on your face, the clouds moving above you, the water ripples, the textures, the natural sounds around you, and any scent on the air.  Resist thinking about all the things that you need to do or the problems that you will face later in the day.  Keep your mind centered on the nature around you.  It may be difficult for you at first.  I believe that this is a mental and spiritual discipline that will be very rewarding for you as you practice it.