Recently I have gotten into the habit of waking up early and going to the lake to sit in the presence of God. It is not that God is absent from my living room or back porch, but I am more present to God at the lakeside. On those mornings when I awaken before dawn and cannot fall back asleep, I accept it as an invitation from the Spirit to sit by the lake.
I make a cup of tea and put it into a travel mug. Then I drive the two miles to the town beach before anyone else comes to take their morning swim or go on an early fishing expedition. I sit on a rock by the shore and let the stillness of the early morning sink into my soul.
It is a lazy man’s form of meditation, a spontaneous form of spiritual practice. No need to pay attention to my breathing, utter a centering prayer, or intentionally allow invasive thoughts pass through my consciousness. No spiritual discipline at all is necessary on such mornings. The lake does it all for me. I sit and watch the water, and the calmness of the lake’s surface produces a calmness in my soul.
One morning the water was warm and the air was cool, producing an airy mist that rolled over the surface of the bay. It was the perfect metaphor for human life. The ripples caused by fish plucking their breakfast from the surface was another message. The deep silence that moved over the face of the water was another. The clouds settling into the valleys of the mountains in the distance gave more teachings.
These were not ideas addressed to my mind, but “the Spirit speaking spiritual truths in spiritual words” as the apostle describes it. The psalmist describes it as “Deep speaks unto deep.” The presence of omnipresent God is revealed in my innermost being. The Divine within communes with the Divine without, and the mist of my individual identity rides the surface.
These are moments of full awareness. Time unfolds and reveals eternity beneath the surface. When I try to describe this to myself using Christian terminology, it adds nothing to it. In fact theologizing draws me away from Presence and into my mind. So I let the thoughts ripple across the surface, and I return to the quiet which is the heart of existence. This is my spiritual practice on these precious final summer days.