Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Attentive to the Present Moment: Surprised by Beauty

“O Lord, our Lord,
How majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.”
-Psalm 8:1

When I slow down my racing mind in order to become present to the moment, I discover all kinds of gifts surrounding me that I was looking right past. I find that I am enfolded by God’s grace. I become attentive.

When I am fully present to the moment, I become aware on a whole new level. I begin to notice small things around me that just awhile ago I had overlooked in my hurry and self-preoccupation.

In particular, I am surprised by beauty. The sun sparkles on the water. The breeze plays in the autumn leaves. A lone flower graces the bare rocks in unpretentious glory. None of these draws attention to itself. Without bringing myself to the moment, it would go unnoticed. However, if I take the time to be attentive, I find each is an encouragement and a reminder of God’s streaming presence that surrounds my each and every movement.

Speaking of which—after writing the last sentence I looked up to relish the brief sight of a young bald eagle wing past the shoreline on Lake Superior where my wife and I have been retreating this October day. My life is graced with one gift after another, if I but open my eyes—and especially my heart—to embrace them.

Alive to Life
Creation is filled with brightly colored flowers, brilliant rays of light, gentle clouds and beautiful sunsets. When I am obsessed with thoughts of my past or concerned about my to-do list in the future, however, I walk right past these. I miss the very gifts God has place on my path. When I slow down my racing mind, however, I begin to notice one blessing after another (John 1: 16) all around me. I see beauty again. I enjoy being alive.

I become alert to God’s love and presence by first by attending to the moment—with all the gifts that enfold me. Simply by slowing down, I begin to see—truly see—the beauty of nature. I take time to smell the flowers and gasp at the sunrise.

These are all little gems that our gracious heavenly Father has given me today, placing them in my path to sustain me on my journey. If I am self-absorbed, I miss them. If, however, I am attentive to the moment, I am able to enjoy a multitude of such gifts.

© 2011 Glenn E. Myers

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