Reading, contemplatively and prayerfully, God’s presence in the Book of Creation has been practiced informally for as long as we’ve walked on the earth. Many of the psalms, for example, come from someone deeply connected with God in creation. Here is a first version of a more structured way of connecting to and then possibly participating with God’s presence and Spirit in nature.
If you use this, I’d be very interested to hear your response when using it and suggestions for improvement in the comments below to better shape the exercise for future versions.
Download and print pocket size instructions. For double sided notes, print this page on both sides of the paper and cut into four.
If you’re using this exercise for groups it is wise to give some brief instructions first. The most important to get across is that this requires some practice so don’t expect to carry out all the sub-stages the first time – let the notes get you going in the right direction and refer to them only if you need a pointer.
If time allows it may be worth trying the exercise more than once using the first time as a learning process rather than fully engaging at a deeper level. Bring the group together and talk about the process rather than the content of their individual exercises.
Literally ‘Divine sensing’, a contemplative meditation to connect and dialogue with Divine presence in a place, object or natural phenomenon (Jer 23:24) and come to a deeper understanding of God through nature (Rom 1:20).
Take a number of mindful breaths and come to the present moment.
Let unnecessary tension leave the body.
During what follows, allow distractions to arise and fall.
Carry out the exercise with lightness and wonder and move at your own pace through the stages.
Approach and begin with humility ...
Sense the overview (rather than the detail) to begin with. Be inquisitive, use all your senses not your thinking.
Notice first impressions.
Sense the present state, get the big picture objectively with no analysis.
Begin to sense more carefully from the overview to the detail.
Take more time, allow attention and fascination to rest where it wants, savour the detail.
Using deeper senses, allow intuition and consciousness of any detectable energy to arise.
Notice any feelings and emotions that are evoked, but don’t fall into analysis.
Return to the overview and this time use your imagination, creativity, analysis and narrative skills.
Image the process and succession that led to this point in time. Project into the future.
Imagine the wider ecosystem and the interactions between the elements.
Bring your focus from overview to detail.
Imagine yourself not as observer but as participant.
Take a feeling or thought or idea into contemplation.
Listen with patience and open receptivity – still your thinking.
Be aware of any dialogue that may be initiated. What is being said to you?
Allow God to speak and / or experience God’s presence.
What is being said to you?
Let your heart speak in response.
Rest in God’s presence and embrace.
Return to earlier stages if you feel so led.
Version 1. 16 March 2014
Encountering the Eternal One within the ancient boundaries of Sherwood Forest More ...
We seek to find the presence of God in the open air and in nature, and to connect with the Divine Being who is present in creation. We seek to foster a love of creation, a love which will lead us to care for it. We look for reconciliation between nature and human beings, and within human relationships. More ...