Resting In The Shade

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(Lose the Net by Rasmus Faber Courtesy of Epidemic Music)

Isn’t it just amazing how good questions lead us naturally to good answers, and how beautiful questions lead to even better answers! When we open ourselves to the things we don’t know, we open the doors to discovery and greater understanding.

I’m Scott Lennox and you’re listening to The Beautiful Question, a weekly consideration of things that matter every day.

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We often push ourselves relentlessly to get things done. But is all that pushing necessary? Is it even healthy for us? You and I both know there’s a better way.

Come sit in the shade with me this week as we consider a few healthy alternatives. I think you’ll be glad you did.

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Decades ago, I had a summer internship that had me serving as the pastor of the First Christian Church of Nashville, Arkansas. As I compared the pace of everyday life that summer in Nashville with my experience at home in Fort Worth, I felt like I had stepped back in time.

When I wasn’t visiting church members or writing my message for the coming Sunday’s service, I spent countless hours in the shade beneath the trees along the creek that ran through Homer Northam’s farm. Homer was an elder in the church and gave me complete run of his place.

One of the wisest men I ever met, Homer seemed to know what I needed better than I did. That summer came on the heels of my time in combat in Southeast Asia, and the serenity Homer’s place offered me was just what I needed to heal and reintegrate after the traumas I experienced.

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One afternoon, I spent a couple of hours resting in the soft grass beneath the trees that lined the creek. As I listened to the water burbling through an undercut below me, time seemed to stop, and I fell into a deeper peace than I had known in a very long time. I became so still that a pair of mockingbirds and several sparrows and a wren landed beside me on the ground and stayed for quite a while as they looked through the grass for something to eat.

When I was leaving, I waded through a low water crossing and stopped to pick up a flat stone that was nestled among smaller ones at the bottom of the creek. I’ve kept it all these years to remind me of that day and of the healing and deep integration that can happen in the stillness of quiet places like that.


Photo: TeamOne


Later that evening, I thought of Henry David Thoreau writing of the hours he spent sitting in the doorway of the cabin he built near Walden’s Pond in Massachusetts. He spent the morning watching the light change as the sun slowly made its way across the sky and felt that there was nothing more important he could have done with his time that day.

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As a relaxing meditation, I’ll sometimes sit quietly and bring to mind every detail I can about my time on Homer’s creek. The easier I am with myself about it, and the deeper I allow my awareness to go, the more I remember and the calmer and more relaxed I become.

I remember the sound of the water and the calling of the birds. I remember the rise and fall of the breeze and the rustling of the leaves in the trees overhead. I remember the splash of a fish that jumped in the creek, right in front of me. I remember the birds settling on the ground beside me. And I remember the colorful lizard that was sprawled out on a rock as it sunned itself in a small pool of light on the other side of the creek.

I remember cicadas incessantly droning in the trees above me. I remember lying back in the grass and falling deeply asleep. I remember awakening and not hearing a single human sound. I remember being fascinated by the quality of the light on the slowly moving water. And I remember the deepening of the shade and the changing of the light through the trees as the sun settled toward the horizon.

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Allow me to illustrate how useful and how important such recollection can be. While I was earning my master’s degree, I talked with an expert in biofeedback about remembering my time at Homer’s creek. She assured me that if I were wired to biofeedback equipment while I was sitting beside the creek and was later wired during one of my meditations about it, the readings taken in both places would be nearly identical.

Studies in physiology and neuroscience show that each time we vividly imagine something, we create physical changes in the body that mimic or match the changes created by lived experiences.

In the case of the compared readings I just mentioned, reduction in muscle tension would be the same. Reduction in blood pressure would be the same. Healthy changes in vascular flow would be the same. Subtle improvements in the nervous system would be the same. Lowered heart and breathing rate would be the same.

When we can get there, it’s marvelous to rest in the shade and spend time being refreshed in stillness. But when we can’t go outside or take ourselves to that ideal place in nature, we can settle into the shade of a safe and quiet place in our imagining. The healthy possibilities we can create in that way are limitless.

This week’s three Beautiful Questions just might help you accomplish that if you’re willing.

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Question One: Can you think of a physical place where you’ve been safe and relaxed by yourself?

Question Two: Down to the smallest details you can remember, what was your experience there?

Question Three: Are you willing to sit quietly several times in the coming week and allow yourself to rest in that imagined place?

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After you consider these questions and then sit quietly in your inner serene place a few times, write and tell me about your experience. I’m listening.

As I say each week,
My Light with Your Light!

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I’m happy that we can engage this way every week as we consider things that matter and what to do about them. If nothing else, I hope you feel inspired to look more deeply at ways of caring for yourself. You deserve that.

You can be further inspired by visiting my friends at Kosmos Journal. That’s K O S M O S Journal. Their mission is to inform, inspire, and engage global transformation in harmony with all life. You can easily find them online at Kosmos Journal dot O R G.

And each week at, you can read the illustrated transcript of each podcast as you listen. We’ve also included an archive of all previous podcasts, including guided relaxation audios that can help you practice letting go on a daily basis.

If you find these podcasts useful, I encourage you to share them and tell others about them. That’s a great way of helping me get a voice of calm and collaboration and balance and encouragement out into the world.

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I’m Scott Lennox, and this has been The Beautiful Question.

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The Beautiful Question is a One Light production, written, produced, and engineered by Scott Lennox at HeartRock Studios in Fort Worth, Texas, as a way of paying forward to life, being fully present, becoming better engaged with things that truly matter in a complex world, and committing to a healthier future for all of us.

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