Spiritual Exercises – Presence

Spiritual Exercises - Presence

Option A)  Uncover A World in Itself

“The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.” Henry Miller

This exercise invites you to tap into Henry Miller’s magic. Simply do as Miller suggests: Pick one place, object or animal and give it your attention and presence until it becomes a world unto itself.  Spend a few minutes with it each every day or give a full hour to it’s contemplation.  Try to find a time when you will be undisturbed.

You may also want to find a way of recording the progression from a singular or simple object to an entire world. Perhaps keep a journal and write about how you experience it each time you look at it. Or take a photo of it each time and look back at the photos to see what changes and emerges over time. You might even sit with your chosen focus for a half a day and see where it  takes you.

Take your time as you chose your focus. Maybe it is a blade of grass or a singular flower. But then again maybe it’s that food truck outside your office at lunch time. Or the old toolbox your dad passed on to you whose story and world you’ve yet to discover.

Consider bringing a picture to your group. Seeing your uncovered world, they just might more easily see even more of their own.


Option B) Make Your Presents About Presence

“Your children need your presence more than your presents.”  Jesse Jackson

It’s not just our children. We all need it. Who wants a new tie when they could have the gift of being seen? Yes, the grandkids want that check from Grandma, but what they will remember is you asking them to join them for a Saturday as you go through the boxes of old stuff in the attic and telling them the stories connected to that so-called junk. This exercise asks you to creatively engage this truth that Jackson lifts up:

Pick at least one person this year and make their holiday present about presence!

There are so many ways to come at this. Offer your presence by making the gift something you do together.  Show them you are present to them and really see them by picking a gift that reflects something especially unique about them. Or help them be more present to life by giving them a gift that helps them stay focused on what’s important or that helps them step back from the blinding busyness of routine life.

As novelist Cecelia Ahern reminds us, “Sometimes, people can go missing right before our very eyes.” Ultimately, that’s what this exercise is about. Give a gift that helps you find those you love again and helps them find you.






Recommended Posts