For many of us, our means of connection with the world and with one another in this time is through one-dimensional screens, which mostly display our faces. God wired us for connection and movement with our bodies. Kneeling, singing, bowing, standing, and partaking of Jesus’ body and blood are all communal acts of embodied worship, and many of us are missing those in-person experiences with our church families. Embodied practices involve more of our senses and help us be fully present to God and worship Him in an integrated way.
For in Him we live and move and have our being. Acts 1:8
Our body is a gift from God and a means of grace. Many times our bodies communicate to us in ways that words cannot, serving as a bridge and dialogue between our interior and exterior. God invites us into relationship with our whole, embodied lives. The more we inhabit our bodies, experiencing our bodies as gifts from God, feeling our feelings, and being present in the moment, the more integrated we will be.
Creating spaces for intentional embodiment helps us to move beyond merely thinking about God to being open to an encounter with God. Intentional embodiment (feeling, being fully present, moving our bodies) helps us be present to ways God might be initiating a conversation with us. Our senses can be a window to something God is trying to say to us, which leads to growing in awareness of His presence and to deeper ways of knowing. Our feelings can lead us to the deeper places where God wants to work.
The opportunity for embodied presence in God’s sanctuary of nature is available to all of us right now. Nature is a great co-regulator for our nervous systems, and is a beautiful place to be restfully present to God with our bodies and our whole selves. We desire to incarnate God in our lives, but often we don’t take the time to let ourselves experience God’s love in a deep, embodied way involving all of our senses. Our souls desperately need connection with our Creator, the sustainer and giver of life. Allowing our senses to be absorbed in creation creates space to open up and be attentive to God’s presence. Even if we’re not outside, taking time to slow down and feel while meditating on scripture or while in prayer helps us to open ourselves up and connect to God in an integrated, holistic way.
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience,
we are spiritual beings having
a human experience. -- Teilhard de Chardin
We know that God is always initiating, drawing us to Himself. God is always revealing aspects of God’s self to us, inviting us deeper into intimacy and relationship with Him. Are we paying attention? Are we open and responsive? Could God be beginning a conversation with us through the flight of a bird? Through a touch of beauty? Through the sway of a wildflower? Through the sound of a cricket? Through tears? What might it look like for us to respond to God’s invitation?
What might it look like for you to put yourself in the way of wonder, letting go of the outcome? Giving God complete access to your integrated body and soul?
God’s original sanctuary was the Garden of Eden. Like us, creation bears the imprint of our creator, and it is a natural place to walk with God “in the breezy part of the day.” It’s a beautiful place to let God’s presence speak to us. Like all of creation, His formation of us is ongoing. One of the best portals we have to the present moment and to the Presence (of God) is through our senses. What might it look like for you to take a slow, intentional walk in nature?
Check out our DIY embodied nature retreat that you can do anytime, anywhere in the next blog post on this site.
Just step outside and be present to what God might be inviting you to.
For further reading, check out The Anatomy of the Soul by Curt Thompson, M.D. www.curtthompsonmd.com