Brother Sun, Sister Moon & other Siblings

The following reflection comes from a number of sources. Partly, it is an extension of the Harvard thinking Zero protocols. The landscape as prayer is part of the John O’Donoghue thinking and the garden as a part of reflection comes out of Margaret Silf’s thinking. Of course, Brother Sun, Sister Moon comes from St Francis.

I want you to think about the landscape as the firstborn of creation. It was here hundreds of millions of years before us. It knows what is going on. Think about landscape having a stillness to it. When you return to the land its always in the same place. Mountains and mountain ranges are huge contemplatives. They are there. Landscape is always at prayer.
Landscape isn’t just matter but think of it as actually alive. It brings you into a mindful mode of stillness, solitude, and silence, where you can truly receive time. We, people need to create more space and stillness. Connecting to the landscape can be a way of coming into rhythms of the world. We can engage with landscape superficially, just by pulling over into the parking area, viewing the distant scene and then moving on, almost untouched by what we have encountered. Or, and this may be a different way of thinking for some, we can become part of a landscape and allow it to become part of us. We can let it infuse us wherever we go, however far we may become separated from the beloved land. This happens, for example, when we have inhabited or frequented certain places for a long time, and they have taken root in our souls and left an indelible imprint there.
Today we are inviting you to wander through the landscapes of your soul, noticing those that touch your heart in a special way at any particular time, and lingering there for as long as you will, to explore what the soul-space means for you. Different spiritual landscapes will speak to you at different times of your life and in different situations. So take time, wherever you find yourself, to be fully present to that space in your heart, so you might hear more clearly the message that it holds for you.
As you wander and linger may you discover ever-deeper layers of the story God is weaving in your life and in our world.
Today we wander in the school gardens of St Charles School. God is in all aspects of your heart’s garden. Paradise means a sacred enclosure – a walled garden. Your heart is a garden, the place you go to meet God in prayer, and the place where God meets you, to help you tend the sacredness you share. A good garden gives life to many creatures as well as to its gardener. We are asking you to think about in what ways does your heart, your life, give life and nourishment to others? What herbs, such as sincerity or gentleness, grow in you hear and add their special flavor to the feast of life. How lovingly do you share the space of others when they invite you to enter their holy ground?
We are calling this process, “Step inside the system.” First thing to say is, “If something really captures you, stay with it!”
We are inviting you to take a device and photograph what they see in the garden environment that they are now in.  (10 photos)
You are to choose one of these photos:
Think about why you choose that photo, what was happening in you that prompted you to make that choice.
Choose one element in that photo. Look at the photo and drill down to something in the photo that captures your attention. Try to look for something smallish.
Step inside the System.  Briefly think of two systems: a weather system and secondly a compost system. You are invited to concentrate on the chosen element in the photo. You are then invited to step inside that thing as a character, as a person. They are to imagine how it may think, feel, and what they might have experienced and their point of view.
The starting point is something in the photo. Explore its journey, its story, in its system, where it came from and how it came to be here.
Ask the element what it has seen, what has it done or experienced over its time and what process made it. Think about who were its companions. Ask what were the best things, the hardest things it has experienced.
Think about the energy that goes into the journey of this “thing”
Connect with its energy that creates all these things in some crazy random unified order. Sit with the story of this thing and stay with it.
Think of this thing, and all things, including yourself, as existing in the family of things:
What does it feel like to be part of a whole family of things made by the maker
Why did the creator make you?
In a quiet reflection talk to the creator, how does that conversation go?