Step 3 - Meditation

SLOW SUMMER

TOOL 3: MEDITATION

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I planted these two sprouts over the weekend. Babying the fiddle leaf fig rooting.  Knowing they are finicky little plants that are difficult to keep alive, much less root.

 Meanwhile, this little ginger root sprouted on my kitchen counter through no action of my own. I just left it out, like I do with so many other objects on my kitchen counter. And then suddenly there it was. Growing. All that I had to do was shove it into the dirt. Instant ginger plant. 

The contrast between the two made me think about how some stuff grows from deep within and just sprouts because it can’t help but do that. Such growth is in its design. Meanwhile, other kinds of growth are possible, but they take a lot intention and time and wisdom and effort. Like this little leaf - an outward thing that can root and become stable one day, but not without someone who is willing to engage it.

Not all growth is created equal. Not all effort yields the same outcome. Not all things require the same level of input on my behalf. Upon noticing this, I took it as a gentle reminder to be relaxed about the future and my outcomes, but also to stay on my feet. Ready to engage and move towards the things that need me to work in order for them to take root and thrive.

What happened between my head and heart and these plants over the weekend is a form of meditation. Where I first notice something and then I consider it to the point where it shows me something about myself and God. Something that will change how I am currently living, feeling, acting, etc.

Which is what Jesus was urging people to do in our #slowsummer verse from Matthew Chapter 6:8-30, he wasn’t just telling people to look at the lilies. He was telling them to look at them in a way that was intentional and that led them to realize that God would provide for them to the point where they would stop worrying.


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“meditation is the one thing that can sufficiently redirect our lives so that we can deal with human life successfully.”

- Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline

 


In her book, An Altar in The World, Barbara Brown Taylor discusses a Native American elder she knows who begins teaching people reverence by steering them over to the nearest tree and asking them,

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“Do you know that you didn’t make this tree?”

If they say yes, then he knows they are on their way.

She goes on to say, “reverence stands in awe of something - something that dwarfs the self, that allows human beings to sense the full extent of our limits.

In the sixth chapter of Matthew, Jesus told people to consider the lilies saying,

“See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin...”

“If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you--you of little faith?”

I need this reminder all the time because I get my lines crossed between laboring and spinning and letting God provide. Which is something meditating can help with.

 An easy intro to this concept for kids is planting seeds. We show up and engage in the process by preparing the soil and putting the seeds in. But God has developed the process of growth that somehow makes them crack their shells, sprouting and eventually emerging into a sprout that then becomes a plant.


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AN ACTIVITY WITH SEEDS 

What you will need:

  • A pack of seeds – I suggest beans or sunflowers.

  • Some potting soil

  •  An empty egg carton and a marker.

Once you have all of your supplies in order, then you can dig in to this pre-k meditation activity. 

I started by asking Ruth, what do seeds show us about God? This is building on last week’s activity of noticing. She has already spent time paying attention to God and drawing lines between creation, seeds, plants, flowers, trees and our God of Creation, so this question is one she holds answers to.

As she was responding I didn’t offer up my own thoughts or opinions, instead I just wrote what she said down and listened, creating space for her to notice and state for herself what this particular process of creation said to her about her Creator.

I was honestly pretty blown away by her responses. My favorite being, “well he made people from dust.”

Was this an answer I expected? No. And it might not have come out if I was busy prepping her with bullet pointed words like roots or sprouts or cultivation. 

 Really, what this answer does is highlight what I love most about introducing this tool of meditating on God through creation to my kid. Among other things, it’s an invitation to engagement. It’s an open door to her where she can learn to step up and starting thinking for herself about God. This to me is everything.  

It is also something I know many adults, myself included, have struggled with. Somewhere along the line we began to think that developing our own ideas about God outside of what we could readily grab from Scripture was out of line. As if forming opinions about God’s nature was heretical if it wasn’t passed off to us through a Biblical author first. Sure, when we dig we do find it all there in scripture too. But God wants us to actively engage Him using our whole selves. Heart. Soul. Mind. (Matthew 22:37) 

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Karen Milioto