This is a spiritual exercise that arose out of a morning walk.
I’ve been doing this for a few years now, not as a scheduled practice, but whenever I need a Spiritual recalibration.
It requires a safe place to walk undisturbed for half an hour. You will want to turn off your alert survival mindset for this short time and let an open and inviting mindset take its place. Also, and I know this is extreme, you will need to turn off all the electronic diversion you are carrying. Extra credit for first timers who leave the gadgets home.
There are two other requirements. A long vista and a trickle of human beings coming in the opposite direction. Ideally, as in my early morning route, several people spaced over the duration of the walk. If you are in an ethnically diverse area, all the better.
If you’re nearsighted, as I am, take off your glasses. Light fog is perfect. For this encounter, it’s best not to see people clearly at first.
Take a few moments before you begin the walk. Deep breaths, until body and mind are calm. Three I find ideal, and on that-not-quite pun let me address any non-Christians reading for just a moment. This practice is so beneficial to me I recommend it with whole heart to my brothers and sisters in Christ, but also to any spiritually minded human being who believes in the soul.
The soul is the focus of the walk.
To recognize, consciously and with intent, with absolute confidence, that every human being was created by God. To see in each other the pure joy of Creation.
The practice is simplicity itself.
As you first see a human form in the distance you say to yourself: Here comes a Soul, a Human Being animated by the Living God. A priceless creation. You cannot at this distance see any details about his or her appearance–this is key. You cannot see clothing, race, age; you cannot see friend or enemy, companion or pariah. You only see the Human Being.
Hold that thought firmly but gently. A human being, a human soul. As the person comes more clearly into view, as you see them in whatever earthly circumstance their life finds them, refrain from judgement. As completely as you, in your earthly circumstance, can, refrain from any judgment at all. Keep focus on the radiant creation before you.
At this point, if you’re interested in this exercise, you will find your own words to keep the thought alive and in your conscious–and deeper–mind. I usually say, Thank You Dear Father for this glorious creation. Thank you for this soul. Let me love with Your heart the human being approaching…and sometimes, very rarely, at His whim, I just shut up.
That’s when it happens for real.