Contributed by the Rev. Edward C. Cardoza
Autumn presents us with lots of opportunities to experience the outdoors. Even for those of us for whom getting outside may be a challenge—all we need is proximity to a window and we can have an opportunity to experience a brisk breeze or a tree in full fall splendor. It can also be a particularly ripe time for contemplative practice so I offer the following.
I’d encourage you to find a beautiful perch by a pond, or a comfortable spot along a wooded path or even—as I suggested before—just simply opening up a window close to you.
First step, take a deep breath and, keeping your eyes open, give thanks for creation, wonder and beauty…let the breath out. Notice the first thing that your eyes encounter. Perhaps it is a squirrel climbing a tree or a chipmunk gathering nuts or a red leaf falling from a tree…whatever it is…fix on it. If you can, reach for it…examine it up close. What does it reveal to you? What truth is it expressing? Take another deep breath in and a breath out…and spend some time with that revelation or truth. After a few minutes…give thanks for this experience—and shift spots, change direction or adjust your seat.
Second step, take a deep breath, keeping your eyes closed this time, give thanks for change, for transition and for new seasons…let the breath out. Notice the first thing that touches you. Perhaps it is a cool breeze or the autumnal sun or an acorn hitting your back…whatever it is….fix on it. Let it continue to touch you. What does it say to you? What does it compel you to do? Take another deep breath in and a breath out…and spend some time with that compelling voice. After a few minutes…give thanks for this experience.
This is a nice spiritual practice to do on a crisp, sun-filled, fall day—it will also leave you with some food for thought for your journey. What did creation reveal to you? What new things are you compelled to do or to witness to in this season of change?