God is a pure no-thing,
Concealed in now and here:
The less you reach for him,
The more he will appear.
A nighttime wind had faded into a morning calm. Like a friend who had lovingly left a present by the door, the wind had graced us with her own gifts. The front steps and surrounding area had been transformed into a colorful tapestry of green and yellow leaves.
The leaves seemed to be peacefully resting. Their small groupings resembled the way they would have gathered only a day before – on the branches of their mother tree. Even though the tree had yielded them to the wind, they seemed far from being complete with their life journey.
I found myself absorbed in the tranquil presence of the leaves. Already they had been through stages of transformation, having grown and developed from buds and lived high above the ground. They’d just completed a stormy passage and quietly settled into another form of contributing to the well-being of the web of life.
As though welcoming the freshly fallen leaves, a monarch butterfly swirled overhead. And the morning sun revealed insects, including a stream of ants. Just as I had bent down to look more closely, a ray of sun gave the leaves the appearance of being a glistening and undulating ocean. To my surprise, a silvery, miniscule slug with a whale-shaped body traversed this sea of leaves.
The true gift from the wind for me was the reminder that life’s secrets are hidden within ordinary moments. Here, I found lessons in letting go, not clinging and integrity. I felt bathed in joy, beauty, and light. I witnessed a quiet trust in life’s continuous flow of reciprocity and inter-being-ness. And, I came away feeling humbled as a human to recognize that non-humans – such as the leaves and slugs – are great teachers for living more prayerfully and reverently.
On a practical level, I have a fresh appreciation of fallen leaves as silent symbols of the sacred web of existence.
This short practice invites awareness of reverence for everyday life.
- Find a quiet spot to sit free of distractions. Place the digital device you are using on silent. Remove any extra digital devices from your body, such as a smart watch, and in the space around you.
- Wherever you are seated – on the floor or on furniture – gently align your ears, shoulders and hips so that your spine is supported by its natural curvature. (If you are seated on a chair or a bench, please rest the soles of your feet on the floor or a cushion.
- Slowly, invite an awareness of being gently held by the earth beneath you. Settle into that support.
- Once you feel grounded, invite a sense of the lightness of the air and space surrounding you. Return to the sense of being gently held by an invisible hand, not only beneath you but lovingly around you.
- Invite a sense of your skin and muscles relaxing across your face and full body. Perhaps allow yourself to relax a bit more into being invisibly supported beneath and all around you.
- Take as long as you need to slowly release unneeded tensions.
- Once you feel you have relaxed a bit more than when you started, imagine your organs and deeper tissues are quietly being held by the invisible support of your breath.
- Again, take as long as your feel you need to feel yourself settling into the gentle caress of the air within you.
- As you sit quietly being held, perhaps allow yourself to notice those parts of yourself – e.g., physically or mentally – where you are holding yourself away from the support.
- Allow yourself to tenderly and lovingly acknowledge these parts of you that may feel vulnerable and need to be where they are for now. Perhaps reassuring them you have noticed them and will come back to them later to find the support they need to share they reason they are not ready to trust.
- If your eyes have been closed, gently open them. Allow yourself to look around as though you were gazing upon long lost friends.
- Imagine they – regardless of their form of existence – are smiling and returning your loving gaze. Take your time.
- Perhaps take a few moments to stand and move around. Imagine your feet – and perhaps your fingers – are caringly touching the sacred, ever-present essence of life.
Transition Back into Your Day—
- If standing, again find a comfortable seated position.
- If you wish to make an affirmation:
- Reach your hands out in front of you – palms softly relaxed and turned upward. With your hands softly outstretched, imagine invisible loving support is pouring into your palms and filling your entire head and body. As you receive this support, allow yourself to lovingly hold it and simultaneously allowing it to seamlessly flow into, though, out and around you. Quietly, say “Thank you: I love you and care for you. I am your offering through all I touch, see, hear, and say.”
- Sit quietly for as long as you wish.
- When you are ready, return to your day.
The poem appears in Mala of the Heart: 108 Sacred Poems, page 39, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library. H E A R T H is posted each new and full moon. KateVogt©2023.