Slowing Down and Taking Notice: Embodying the Teachings of the Landscape

“In what ways are you paying attention to the divine spark within you promoting you to slow down and take notice?” ~ Christine Stine


A local group I belong to called the Sacred Earth discussion group has been sharing about Creation-centered Spirituality in our in-person meetings based on the book Order of the Sacred Earth. I’ve been reflecting on our discussion from this past Sunday. The urgency of our times and the narrative that everything faster is better can make us anxious, yet many of us have been sensing a need to slow down, deepen our spiritual ground and awareness even in the midst of ‘not knowing’. And, rather than grasping for answers, live into the questions as Rilke teaches:


“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

It is the same way of wisdom that Quaker elder Parker Palmer calls “the place of not-knowing” encouraging us to slow down, often in the darkness, “until our eyes adjust and we start to see what’s down there.”


In the water ritual that our group participated this past Sunday, the gurgling creek was speaking to us. We were getting a message that if we slow down and take notice, we can begin to embody teachings from wild nature where we might become like the flowing water in the creek – moving at its own pace where even the stones and mighty boulders cannot stop its flow.  As we noticed this, we also noticed the many leaves that were falling on this Autumn day. Can we let go of the things in our lives that no longer serve us, and make room for a new season?


Becoming aware that we are at a threshold in our lives, and then embracing this feeling of ‘not knowing’ is a spiritual practice in many wisdom traditions, including the Celtic ones described by Christine Valters Paintner in her book The Soul’s Slow Ripening. This way of slowing down, growing our awareness and spiritual depth will deepen our love of life with awe and amazement, it can give us the mature wisdom with the strength of a warrior who knows how to let the dark be dark, and the pain be pain that in turn can birth a new outpouring of creativity – from each of us, in community.

This slowing down might at first seem antithetical to the urgent problems facing us. Yet, I sense it is through the slowing down and practice of Creation Spirituality that we will become more aware that there is a deeper ground to our purpose. It can transform us, will be transcendent, and will foster healing and celebration and compassion and justice.


[photo: by Brent Ladd, several members of the local Order of the Sacred Earth group listening to and enjoying the creek]




What do you think?