Tag Archives: Mindfulness

Wind Chimes and Rainbows

A wind chime hangs outside my kitchen window. In the centre a ball is suspended from a string which continues to a plastic teardrop shaped like cut crystal. Around the main string hang three metal tubes of different lengths. When the wind blows, the ball moves and tings on the sides of the tubes, making the chiming noise. At a certain time of day the teardrop catches the sunlight and scatters it into rainbows which come through my kitchen window and dance around the counter top.

The wind chime has no motor or energy source of its own. All it has to do to make magic is just to be itself and allow itself to be moved by the wind. If it decided to take control and hold its strings rigid like wires, it would not work.

Wind and sun are around us all the time but it takes this simple contraption to draw our attention to them.

Jesus said, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:8)

We are like that wind chime. All we have to do is to be what God created us to be and hold ourselves open to His Spirit. He does the work. His breath blows into us and His light shines through us and we can bring joy to the world and glory to our creator. When we decide to take control and do things our own way, we fall short of the magic for which we were created.

God is around us all the time but I, for one, am not usually aware of Him. Perhaps we all need to try to cultivate more mindfulness. In this way we can become more truly ourselves and bring glory to God. A time of quiet, of bible reading, of contemplation, can help us to cultivate this awareness. I am working through a book called “Taste and See” by Margaret Silf and am finding it helpful to explore different ways to become more mindful of God.

Alive

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10b NIV)

I am going through Maxie Dunham’s book, ” The Workbook of Living Prayer” again. I am in Week Five at the moment and Day Six inspired these reflections.

Ireneus, one of the early church fathers, wrote, “The glory of God is man fully alive.”

This implies that the glory of God is not only Christians in prayer, or studying the bible, or worshipping together or even caring for others. It is supremely found when Christians live life to the full. It is you and I and all human-kind, fully alive. To be alive is to be aware, to be fully present. Praying without ceasing is being aware, paying attention, mindfulness.

There are four aspects of awareness as God’s children.

Awareness of self. What am I feeling? What’s going on inside me? What am I sensing? A friend told me of the five, four, three, two, one method of settling down to prayer. Note five things I see, four things I hear, three things I feel, two things I smell and one thing I taste. ( All the more reasons to have a cup of coffee with my quiet time in the morning)

Awareness of others, deliberately being present to them, really seeing them and interacting. It is being willing to share ourselves with others.

Awareness of the world. God designed this world for us, who are flesh, to dwell in. He saw that it was good. We need to be aware of the world, not only the gifts of nature, but also the social fabric of life.

Awareness of God. When we open ourselves to God’s Spirit, we can be alive to God’s action in ourselves, others and the world.

The philosopher, Martin Heidegger talks about “openness” to “what is.” This means an openness and acceptance of myself as I am, of others as they are, of God for who He is and the world as it is. In this way we can become aware of what God wants to do through us and through others in the world.

Being open to what is carries risks. We expose ourselves to pain, embarrassment, sorrow, failure, rejection and other negative experiences. However, these are as much a part of real life as happiness, confidence, love, trust and joy.

The glory of God is each of us fully alive.

Bungee jump at night

Doing and Being

Every Saturday morning I take my granddaughters to Brownies and Teddies, the junior branches of the Girl Guides. It is in another suburb about fifteen to twenty minutes away. While they are there, I usually take myself out to breakfast at a little bistro not far from the church hall where they meet.

This morning I sat down facing the window instead of the TV and was about to whip out my phone to check my email, or check the news, or play games or something when I caught myself. Why do I feel compelled to always be doing something instead of just being?

Instead, I just looked out the window.

sdr

I saw the beautiful Jacaranda trees in full bloom. By and by, a lady came up to the tree directly opposite me. She was wearing an apron and carried a watering can. She carefully poured water around the tree and I noticed there was a little rockery around the tree where some Clivia were growing. I saw a man carry an empty box and carefully deposit it next to a dustbin. I saw a parking guard with a luminous orange vest pick up litter as he strolled backwards and forwards. I saw doves fly past and perch in the trees.

On a whim, I checked my new tracker watch to determine my heart rate. It was lower than it’s been since I got the tracker three days ago.

Shouldn’t we spend more time being rather than doing from wake up to sleep time? Wouldn’t we appreciate more of the abundant life Christ offers us? Shouldn’t we spend more time looking at the lilies in the field?

Isn’t it strange that when we meet strangers, a stock question is “What do you do?” and never “Who are you?” It is true that often we can gauge who a person is by what they do, but not always.

I am determined to spend more of my waste time just being. Time in the car as a passenger, time walking, time eating, time relaxing. My cell phone is merely a tool, not my master. It’s all right to just look around, enjoy the world and thank God.