A Morning Prayer and the Call of the Earth

Posted on in On Our Radar by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee


The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
—Gerard Manley Hopkins

Every morning I wake early and walk in the first light beside the bay here in Northern California. It is an ever-changing time of solitude and communion, with the sun breaking over the hills, the fog making everything still, or the winter frost creating a silver landscape. Looking out over the wetland, I always search for the shape of the egret, sometimes still in the dawn, or this morning its wings brilliant white rising from the water. As it flies and settles further off in the gray early light, I am awakened to a world that is all around me, if sadly not always noticed. After its white, white wings, I see the world more distinct—the wild roses more brilliant and pink as they spill over a fence. I sense, smell, hear, and see in a different way: I am more present.

I have always loved and needed to walk in the early morning. After waking up, first meditation and hot tea, then going outside, feeling and sensing the world before the day’s demands begin. Even when I lived in the city, I would run or cycle in the early morning, needing this connection, this seeing the world around before life’s business too often drowned out any quiet. For the last 20 years I have lived here in Inverness amid nature—an unexpected blessing—and taking the same walk every morning, each day is different: the light, the call of the birds, the way a leaf moves in the wind. Recently, my early walk changed and is now beside the wetland rather than amid the trees, and so the landscape of this morning meeting is very different. And yet the essence of this early prayer is the same, this meeting with the sacred around me.

While meditation takes me inward into an essential inner silence and emptiness, this early morning walking is a prayer. In prayer there is a meeting: I meet and bow before the One in Its many colors, sounds, and smells. Of course, many mornings I forget, and take my own thoughts with me on my walk. But then I am reminded, like today when the egret’s wings flashed white, and I awake from myself and see more clearly—the colors, the sounds, the beauty, the Divine. Once more I am attuned to how “the world is charged with the grandeur of God.”

Any prayer in which there is a real meeting, a real relationship with the Divine, is always changing. Just as each day is different—sometimes fog (we live beside the ocean), sometimes the sun breaking through, sometimes bright light—so the states of prayer change. Sometimes this meeting in the morning is more intimate, my heart sings, I feel a deep oneness with what is around me. More recently, I have felt a calling, as if the earth needs me, needs my attention. It wants to draw me into deeper awareness: to meet it not just on the surface, amid the brilliance of its colors and sounds, but in its interior soul, in the depths of its sacred self.

In these moments there is a sense that my morning walking prayer is not just for me but also mysteriously for something within nature: that this meeting in prayer is needed by the earth. These early mornings are for me a deep remembrance of the sacred in creation, in the world around. It is a very private time—no one else is around. I try not to allow the thought-forms or demands of the day in. But there has come a deepening sense that this remembrance is also needed by the earth, that it is calling for my awareness of its divine nature—that it needs my prayer.

We always think that our prayer is about us, our need for the Divine. And of course, this is true: prayer is borne from need. Each morning, under the need to remember, to reconnect with a wonder that is around me, there is also a deeper truth: that the Divine needs our remembrance. In so many ways the Divine calls out to us—throughout our day, throughout our life. And our prayer is a response to Its call. As Rumi says, “I never knew that God too desires us.”

And now the earth is calling. I can sense it in the early morning, in the white flashing of the egret’s wings, in the fragrance of the wild roses. The earth needs us to remember its divine nature: it needs our prayers. Something sacred in the world is dying and needs our attention. How long can it survive our culture’s desecration, our pillage and pollution, our deep neglect of its divine nature? Just as the world helps me to awaken every morning, we are needed to help the world awaken from this nightmare we call materialism. The soul of the world is calling to us. Our prayers for the earth are needed.

Reprinted from the Inverness Almanac.

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, PhD, is a Sufi teacher and author of a number of books, including The Return of the Feminine and World Soul. In recent years the focus of his writing and teaching has been on spiritual responsibility in our present time of transition, spiritual ecology, and the emerging global consciousness of oneness. GoldenSufi.org • SpiritualEcology.org

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Join our once-monthly newsletter to get all the latest news & resources

No spam. Unsubscribe any time.