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Reverence

Spiritual Practices:

Reverence



Daily Cue, Reminder, Vow, Blessing

• Passing by a grand tree is my cue to practice reverence.

• Seeing the respect given to great spiritual leaders reminds me to reverence the holiness of human beings.

• When I meet people who don't care about animals and nature, I vow to balance their indifference with my commitment.

• Blessed is the Friend of the World who is pleased when we practice reverence toward people, places, animals, and things.

 


Prayer, Mantra

This manta reminds us that reverence leads to amazement.

Breathing in: I stand in awe . . .
Breathing out: of all Creation.

 


Imagery Exercise

The inspiration for this exercise is the series of excerpts in Spiritual Literacy in which people express their reverence for trees (pp. 144 � 147). Part of it is adapted from "The Garden of Eden" exercise in Healing Visualizations: Creating Health Through Imagery by Gerald Epstein.

Close your eyes. Breathe out three times, and imagine yourself sitting with your back against a tree that has branches hanging down with green leaves. Breathe in the pure oxygen that the leaves emit in the form of a blue-golden light. Breathe out carbon dioxide in the form of gray smoke, which the leaves then take up and convert into oxygen. Sit there making a cycle of breathing with the tree.

Breathe out one time. Feel and sense how you are connecting with the tree with your body. Sense the energy coming up from the earth, through the tree's trunk and branches, and into your body. Feel how this energy moves through your whole body and how some of it goes out your feet and legs back into the earth again. Sit there becoming one with the tree. What are you sensing from the tree now? How do you feel?

When you are finished, see yourself making a gesture to thank the tree, and open your eyes.

 


 
Practice of the Day

Losing a species to extinction
Is like tearing a page
Out of sacred scripture.
— Calvin DeWitt quoted in Ponderings from the Precipice by James Conlon

To Practice This Thought: Send a contribution to an organization working to combat species extinction.

 


Spiritual Exercises

Adopt a tree, a park, a beach, or a highway, and look out for its welfare. In its honor, include in your daily prayers petitions to alleviate the sufferings of dying plants and trees, polluted waterways, and toxic lands.

• Michael Katz and Gershon Schwartz in Swimming in the Sea of Talmud give a blessing to use when seeing deformity or ugliness.

• John O'Donohue in Eternal Echoes proposes a ritual to honor elements of the natural world that hold our memories.

• Barry Lopez in About This Life demonstrates how to express reverence for your hands.

• Lama Surya Das in Awakening the Buddhist Heart explains a reverence practice of the great Indian sage Shantideva.

 

Reverence home