This week we will focus on running water, developing sensory awareness as a spiritual practice. Sensory awareness or “reverential contemplation” is a Unitarian Universalist way to access our first and sixth sources. Reverential contemplation can lead us to experiences of mystery and wonder and help us connect to the rhythms of nature. Neo-pagans, taoists. naturalists and martial artists may also develop their sensory awareness as part of their learning process. Through deep breathing, grounding the self, and paying attention, we can increase our connection to the world around us, reminding us we are part of a “great conversation” among all life on earth.
Find a source of running water, seek out a trickling stream or rushing river or go sit by Lake Ontario. If you can’t get outside, use a water fountain (I found one at a second hand store for a few dollars), or stand by the sink as you are filling it to do the dishes.
Breathe deeply. Feel your feet firmly, yet loosely, planted on the ground. Let your worries and stresses sink down into your feet and into the ground. Listen to the sounds of life around you. Breathe deeply.
Focus your eyes and ears on the water. Watch its movement and form. Notice the shapes and patterns that it makes, where it runs fast and where it slows down. Look at how it pools and puddles. Breathe in. What does the water smell like?
If outside, notice the way the patterns of movement form and reflect the shapes the land. The visible motion is only the surface layer, there is more complex motion below. What can the surface tell you about the depths? Notice how the light plays off the water, changing as the water changes.
If you are inside, be aware of the sounds the water makes at different depths, as it touches different materials like metal or ceramic. Change the pressure, notice what happens to the motion of water as the flow increases or decreases.
After five minutes, breathe deeply and look away from the water. Take a minute to reflect on your experience of flowing water.
Water in Motion exercise adapted from Starhawk’s The Earth Path