Nature is a very rich source of Divine inspiration. This exercise is an opportunity to “read” God’s creation by taking a leisurely walk outdoors. Lectio divina (Divine reading) of scripture is one way to communicate with God through prayer and meditation in order to gain new insights. You can adapt this method of sacred reading with any object found in nature.
Pause for a moment and ask for wisdom and insight from God as you observe the things from nature that capture your attention. You may have a particular question in mind you desire to understand or explore with this process, so ask specifically for insight with this particular question. You can also come with a childlike curiosity and playfulness to see what new insights you might discover in this process. If you are unable to take a walk outdoors, you can also use this method to observe an object from nature such as a plant, a rock or a sea shell.
1. What do you notice?
Take a walk in nature in a slow, thoughtful way. Notice the details around you. What captures your attention? You might notice the cloud patterns, the chirping of birds or one leaf on a tree. Do you notice a single object or many similar objects? Is there anything that unnerves you or beckons you? Stay with those objects from nature as long as you can. Meditate on it. Sketch it. Take a photo. Observe it from a different angle or perspective. How do you describe this object to someone who cannot see this object? Take a moment and jot down some words or phrases that describe this object.
2. What is my connection with this object?
Slowly look at the object again, noticing the details. This time, pay attention to the attributes of this object and how it might describe you. How do you connect with these traits you noticed? Are you a tight bud or a fully blooming flower? Are you organized like the symmetrical veins in the leaf or does your life resemble the random placement of the wildflowers in the landscape? Let your thoughts and imagination and senses be a part of the meditation. Explore the object and symbolism the way a child might explore it, in the spirit of curiosity and openness. Allow your imagination to explore the object by becoming the object. Notice what feelings or emotions stir you. What words of wisdom do you have to tell yourself from the perspective of the object from nature?
3. What is the invitation from God?
Look at the object one more time. Notice the connections that relate to your life today. Pay attention to any invitation, warning or response you are prompted to follow. You may personalize the experience by completing the sentence “God invites me to ____________”. I also like to use SoulCollage® founder Seena Frost’s statement “I am one who ________” using the attributes from the object to describe yourself.
“I am one who blooms where she is planted.”
“I am one who draws nourishment from the deep roots of my faith.”
“I am one who is broken and imperfect, yet beautiful in my own uniqueness.”
4. Express gratitude.
Pause again in silence and acknowledge God’s presence. How is God speaking a personal word to you today through this object? Thank God for being present with you, speaking to you through this experience and loving you. You may wish to journal or spend more time in conversation with God about this experience.
Take a walk and discover the rich insights gained while reading God’s big book of nature!