July 12
No life can be barren which hears the
whisper of the wind in the branches,
or the voice of the sea as it breaks
upon the shore; and no soul can lack
happiness looking up to the midnight stars.

William Winter


Today's Meditation:

How can we hear the whisper of the wind in the branches if we're always in our cars or always have headphones on or earbuds in?  How can we hear the voice of the sea if we spend all our time in the house, playing video games or watching TV?  How can we look up to the midnight stars if we never take the time or make the effort to get outside when all is dark and the stars shine so brightly; or if we are outside, if we never even take the time to stop and look up at the sky?

The natural world gives of itself constantly--scenes more spectacular than any photo or painting, sounds that are more melodic and more impressive than any piece of music.  Unfortunately, as time goes on and on, we get less and less in touch with these things--we see and hear them less, we feel them less, we make them less and less a part of our lives.  But we can enrich our lives immediately by deciding just to pay attention to these things that already exist all about us.

Some of the most amazing moments that I've experienced on this planet have been spent standing on a beach, watching and listening to the waves break as they make their ways to shore.  The sounds of these moments have stayed with me always, and I love to remember them sometimes, closing my eyes and recalling the sounds and sights.  They've given me memories that most definitely do enrich my life, and I feel grateful that they've been a part of that life.  My happiness does come from inside, of course, but it's the decision to stop, watch, listen, pay attention to, and appreciate such things that give me that happiness.  If I choose to make things such as waves and wind and stars a part of my reality, then I choose to enrich my life.  Thus I shall never lead a barren life, and my days never shall be empty.

Questions to consider:

How often do you stop and pay attention to the things of nature that definitely could enrich your life on this planet?

What kinds of strategies could you use to make elements of nature a more integral part of your life?

Are there times when your life seems barren?  If so, why do you think you feel the emptiness?

For further thought:

If only we know, boss, what the stones and rain and flowers say.  Maybe
they call--call us--and we don't hear them.  When will people's ears open,
boss?  When shall we have our eyes open to see?  When shall we open
our arms to embrace everything--stones, rain, flowers, and people?  What
do you think about that, boss?  And what do your books have to say about that?

Nikos Kazantzakis


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