Tasting the Breeze

baby with tongue out - tasting the breeze

I was recently asked how we can “turn down the noise” in our lives so we can better notice God around us. What I don’t think we actually do is listen to the noise. How often do we pause to notice the sounds coming into our ears? The sights and colors entering our eyes? The scents entering our nostrils? It’s this kind of awareness that’s key to an Ignatian spiritual life. St. Ignatius would call this an “application of the senses,” in which we open up awareness to our five senses.

My three-month-old daughter is a constant reminder of how often I don’t engage my senses. She is constantly looking around at her world: at air-conditioning vents, at light bulbs, at the leaves on the trees, at her feet. She’s fascinated by the texture of her new plush turtle. And when we go on a walk, she sticks out her tongue when the breeze blows by her face. When was the last time you tasted the breeze? Jesus told us that children might be the wisest among us (Matthew 18:1–5). They remind us that the world is a wonderous place.

For my infant, the noise is not something she wants to get rid of. Instead, she engages with it. She notices it, hears it, tastes it—savors it. Applying our senses invites us not just to perceive, but to engage. It’s the difference between seeing and noticing, hearing and listening, tasting and savoring. The noises many refer to are the sounds of everyday life. Why not pay attention to them? What are they calling us to? Can God not use them to communicate with us? If my child could speak, she might tell us that yes, these wondrous things around her are distracting, but that our eyes are blinded to their wonder. We must return to our child eyes and notice the astonishing beauty of God’s creation. The first step to finding God in all things is tasting the breeze.

About Andy Otto 54 Articles
Andy Otto credits his relationships for a strong and ever-growing faith in God. After spending nearly three years as a Jesuit, he came to a deep appreciation for the practical application of Ignatian spirituality. He currently lives with his wife in California, where he works as a high school theology teacher. He is the author of God Moments and holds a master’s degree in theology and ministry from Boston College.

8 Comments on Tasting the Breeze

  1. Thanks. I loved this article. You can tell (I think) it was inspired by experiencing the presence of God through his daughter. How wonderful!

  2. I was engaged in the first sentence. What a “refreshing” article! As I go about my day I will pay attention to the everyday noises in a world that is given us as gift….and to ‘taste the breeze’! It certainly is a wonderful World.. Many thanks, Andy

  3. A lovely article. To see things through the eyes of a child. What did Jesus say? “Unless we become as little children…..
    Thank you. All senses are now attuned!. A.M.D.G.

  4. Sometimes noise drowns out everything. My hearing aids amplify every little sound which can be overwhelming at times. Sometimes I take them out so as to be able to concentrate and to listen to the small still voice. However I am delighted that your daughter is investigating, testing, tasting everything. God is there in every breath of air. Blessings on you and your family

  5. I loved this!!! Yes our children are great teachers! I had an elderly aunt that told us kids thousands of times, “don’t forget to take time to smell the roses”. She only knew that as an old saying, but she was telling us the same thing as your child. Pay attention to the little things. Thank you so much for this reminder!

  6. Interesting article, Andy! Senses are there for a good purpose and your daughter used them wisely. I like it when a toddler, stops and look closely to something an adult hardly noticed, picking up ants, lost small buttons etc. These toddlers give us something to think about and look at the beauty around us. We need to appreciate.

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