I was browsing through William Bloom’s The Power of Modern Spirituality when I noticed this lovely exercise, which is just part of our Advent gift to you on 7th December. What occurred to me as I read is that, in fact, when I stop and focus, I realise that I am a gift. Be still now and see what it brings for you…
Exercise: Your family of nature and cosmos
Take a few minutes to pause and centre. Relax and allow yourself to sink down into your body.
Guide your attitude into one of having an open heart and kind mind.
Turn your focus down into your body and be aware of its wonder and life – its heat, the pulse and flow of your blood, the rise and fall of your breath, the way your lungs absorb oxygen.
Contemplate and enjoy the reality that you yourself are a miracle of creation.
Contemplate, too, that your body is made up of the same atomic matter, the same stardust, as constitutes everything else in nature and the cosmos.
You are made of the same stuff as the stars, the minerals, the plants and animals.
Just feel and be aware of your connection with all of this, with the whole of your family.
Carefully look at how you live your life – clothes, food, heating, energy, transport. Calmly assess the impact you have on your environment.
Aligned with your highest values and compassionately respecting all nature, make some careful and conscious decisions about your habits and lifestyle.
This is very beautiful, isn’t it? We live in a beautiful natural world and, if we choose to, we can also live in a beautiful way. When we are touched by someone’s caring behaviour, we may say that she or he is a beautiful soul and this has nothing at all to do with superficial appearances or material success.
Doing good and being good also are not derived from some earnest attitude that is devoid of joy and good humour. As well as beauty, the natural world is filled with wildness and vitality. Sometimes therefore our acts of service may also be wild, courageous and even revolutionary, as we release what is trapped – emotions, animals, plants, people – into freedom.
But whether our service is done in a quiet or expansive way, we know that our spirituality needs to be grounded in real-life behaviour that lovingly supports and serves all those around us. The growth of our heart and consciousness is not a purely private experience, but has to spill over to benefit everything beyond us.
From The Power of Modern Spirituality, ©2011 by William Bloom, published by Piatkus.
PS While I was preparing this piece, three people phoned to order this very book!