Prayer is talking to God; meditation is listening to God.”
— Traditional Christian thought
* * *
My daily affairs are quite ordinary, but I’m in total harmony with them. My miraculous power and spiritual activity: drawing water and carrying wood.”
~Layman P’ang, ancient Zen master
I find that “miraculous power” lies in the ordinary things that are celebrated in Zen Buddhism–and maybe not celebrated enough by Christians.
I find that an ordinary chore like washing dishes–which can feel like such a drag to so many people and which used to be a drag to my way of thinking–can be a form of meditation.
I don’t have a dishwasher in my humble Belizean abode, so I wash dishes and I clean them mindfully, as a meditation–as a form of relaxation that calms my mind, body and spirit.
Like the vast majority of people in hot-tropical Belize, I don’t have air conditioning, so my tile floors and the blades on my ceiling fans can get dusty. I sweep with a broom and dust the fan blades mindfully, grounding myself in the present moment, so that the household chores don’t bring me down. In fact they can lift me up.
That may sound weird but hey–you get the same effect if you do mindful gardening or you mindfully water the lawn or you wash the car with attentiveness to making every part shiny.
The point is, you don’t have to get up at 4 a.m. and sit still in a meditation pose for four hours like the Dalai Lama every day to rest the mind and harmonize the mind-body-spirit.
I’ve often noted here that my favorite form of meditation is taking long, aimless walks, preferably “away from it all” in natural environments, mindful of the ground and the earth and the water and the birds and the bees and the full moon or whatever nature there is to be embraced in the surroundings.
I try to live into every day as an Earth Day, as a mindful day, as a wondrous day.
Have a mind today to slow down and seize the wonder of God’s good, green creation.
It’s something to behold.
O God, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen:
You place us in your creation, and you command us to care for it.
Your works declare glory and splendor, and you call us to praise and reverence.
Where we have degraded or destroyed earth’s bounty, forgive us.
Where we have taken beauty and majesty for granted, have mercy upon us.
Where we have become estranged from the creatures with whom we share this planet,
grant us your peace.
Renew us in the waters of baptism,
refresh us with the winds of your spirit,
and sustain us with the bread of life.
In the name of Jesus Christ, and for the sake of the new creation, we pray. Amen.
— “An Earth Day Prayer of Confession” from the Rev. Ken Carter, pastor of Providence United Methodist Church in Charlotte, N.C.