The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Desperately Seeking Peace? Try Walking Prayer

Get out and see the world
Feeling stressed, anxious, jittery, worried about tomorrow? Well, have I got a spiritual practice for you!

This will work in any weather conditions, provided you dress appropriately (short of dangerous storm conditions ... if signs are being uprooted and blown down the street or your neighbor's house goes sailing by, don't go out ... otherwise, give this a shot), although a sunny day works best.

This is called the walking prayer. It is a very old practice, predating all the screens we use today by hundreds of years. The idea is to get out into the natural world and take it in with all the senses you have. In this way, you draw close to God through God's creation while you walk, hence the name the "walking prayer." As long as nature is around you, it doesn't matter if you are in the city (okay, you'll probably want to head to a park), suburbs, small town, or rural locations. Get out, clear your head by concentrating on what your senses are telling you, and observe the nature that you find around you. It is an amazing exercise that will clear your head and give you some peace ... at least for as long as you walk and pay attention to the world around you.

The first time I tried this, I was blessed with a beautiful experience. Within five minutes, the natural world leapt forward, filling my senses, brightening around me, showing me intricate patterns, amazing sprays of color and shading, sounds of birds, breeze, and water, the gentle caress of the warm spring breeze ... and I did indeed feel closer to the creator of the universe, which was a blessing. The other extraordinary feature of the experience was that the human-made world seemed to dim, go a little gray, and recede into the background while all else burst with vibrant life.

This spiritual exercise, this walking prayer, can be repeated again and again, day after day, relieving stress after stress. Give it a try.

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