Open My Eyes That I Might See
Last week John and I took a train ride to Vancouver, BC and while we hoped for some sun it was even cloudier there that at home. As we walked through Stanley Park I was afraid all my pictures would be gray and drab and then I saw this one. Yes, if the day had been bright and sunny I suppose this picture would have been brighter. But, the trees in their autumn finery reflecting in the pool made a light all their own. I just had to “open” my eyes to see it.
Today for Prayerful Tuesday I am inviting you to open your eyes and open your hearts and minds as we practice Visio Divina using the above picture. There is no set time frame for the guided prayer, but I do suggest at least 15 minutes and up to thirty minutes.
- As your prayer begins, take a few moments to open your heart and mind to God.
- When you are ready, slowly look and notice the image, taking your time to let feelings and thoughts come to you as you take in forms, colors, lines, textures, and shapes.
- What does it look like, or remind you of?
- What do you find yourself drawn to?
- What do you like and not like?
- What are your initial thoughts?
- What feelings are evoked?
- At this point in your prayer simply notice your responses without judgment or evaluation. If you don’t like the image, or the feelings it evokes, notice that this is your initial response and continue to stay open to the image and the prayer.
- If you have an immediate idea as to what the image means, again, simply acknowledge that this is your initial response and stay open to “the more” as the prayer unfolds.
- As you expand your prayer, return to the image with an open heart and mind. What new thoughts, meanings, and/or feelings arise for you; what initial impressions have expanded deepened.
- Explore more fully the meanings that have risen up within you, and the feelings associated with the image and its colors and forms.
- Be aware of any assumptions or expectations you bring to the image. No how you responded to the image — delight, disgust, indifference, confusion — prayerfully ponder the reason for your various responses and what they might mean for you.
- As you go deeper into your prayer, open yourself to what the image might reveal to you.
- What does it and the Holy Spirit want to say, evoke, make known, or express to you as you attend to it in quiet meditation?
- Become aware of your feelings, thoughts, desires, and meanings brought up by the image: how they are directly connected to your life.
- Does the image hold an important meaning or value for you: does it remind you of an important event or season, or suggest a new or different way of being?
- What desires and longings are evoked in your prayer?
- How do you find yourself wanting to respond to what you are experiencing?
- Offer a prayer to G-d in ways that the image evokes: gratitude, supplication, wonder, lament, confession, dance, song, praise, etc.
- As bring your prayer to close, bring to mind or jot down in a journal (whatever way is most helpful for you) the insights you want to remember, any actions you are invited to take, wisdom you hope to embody, or any feelings or thoughts you wish to express and remember.
Close your prayer by resting for a moment in God’s grace and love. May you see with newly open eyes, heart and mind many new images of G-d in the coming week.
Ruth Jewell, ©November 5, 2013, Picture taken by Ruth Jewell 2013.10.22, prayer practice of Visio Divina adapted from a workshop given by Rev. Nancy Gowler Johnson.