Home' Nova National : October 2011 Contents 28
If we stop and
take the time to
connect with small
beauties around us
we nurture sacred
Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us
to encounter everyday epiphanies, those
transcendent moments of awe that change
forever how we experience life and the
world. -- John Milton
Reverence is an attitude of sacred
respect. It carries with it a
degree of sensitivity to subtleties
as it increases the capacity for
recognising the interconnection between
all aspects of life.
Different cultures have created rituals
and 'rules' for reverent living, yet in
mainstream Western culture it has become
hip to be irreverent, to be cynical and find
fault. If we drop the defensive state of
mind that separates us from our sensitive
natures, we find a core of reverence.
Sometimes we need to remind ourselves
to notice the miraculous and beautiful in
order to cultivate our sense of reverence.
In observing nature with her miraculous
change of seasons, the sprouting of a
seed, the rapid learning of babies of all
species, we can hardly help but feel awe.
Reverence fits into many branches of
holistic health including for those working
with the healing power of nature through
herbal medicine, homoeopathy, flower
essences, and holistic nutrition. All of
these arts and sciences require reverence
and gratitude towards nature in order to
tune into the subtle vibrations and choose
the right remedy. Therapists who seek to
enhance positive mind states through the
tools of counselling, meditation, art and
music therapy also employ reverence as a
healing tool. Indeed Carl Roger 's concept
of Client Centred Therapy utilises a kind
of reverent approach to seeing the person
you are working with through a lens of
Many of the modern psychological
techniques proven to increase wellbeing
through reverence have been reinvented
from ancient knowledge to suit modern
lifestyles. Now therapists, coaches,
counsellors and healers of all kinds are
able to guide their clients and themselves
in cultivating reverence. With or without
a therapist, you can implement small
changes in daily life to nurture the seeds
of sacred respect.
The work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and his
peers draws heavily from Buddhism
where mindfulness is a core teaching.
For lay people these same skills can be
brought into a fast paced life. Mindful
commuters advocate using red lights as
reminders to practise breath awareness.
Taking just a minute or two to watch the
inhalation and exhalation brings a flurried
mind into present moment awareness. In
that brief space of calm, it becomes more
likely that reverence flourishes. Without
such healthful habits it is easy to rush
from one goal to the next, ticking off a
mundane 'to do' list without appreciating
the miracles all around. Whether it is
traffic lights or any other regular daily cue,
the simple practice is to pause for just a
moment before each new activity. In that
pause you may repeat a clear affirmation
of your choosing, or observe the breath,
feel sensations in the body, or even offer
thanks to the universe -- whatever suits
your temperament will work for you.
Imagine a day where you wake up and
read over the SMART goals you set the
night before. SMART goals are specific,
measurable, achievable, realistic and
timely. The best goals will be congruent
with your bigger picture values. To
ensure these are truly SMART it is advisable
to have fewer than three goals per day.
Positive psychologist Martin Seligman
suggests that the future can pull you along,
which is much more energy efficient and
happiness promoting than being pushed
by history, especially if your history has
some heavy aspects. That's not denying
the very real need for reflection on the
past, but rather it creates a feeling of up-
liftment that makes being sensitive and
If your values include significant
relationships you might take the time to
let your partner or loved ones know how
much you appreciate waking up in their
company. Practise mindfulness as you go
about your morning tasks, maybe with
a formal meditation or similar practice,
maybe just mundane activities made
sacred by your approach to them. In the
shower you can practise paying attention
to the sensation of water on your skin,
maybe you have a view to admire, to see
the light and colours of the morning sky.
Feel the air temperature without reacting
to it, try equanimous observation and
use getting dressed as meditation. This
is in direct contrast to the experience
of waking with a rush of adrenaline and
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