The penny is the lowest, least valuable, and swiftly expendable coin in the American monetary system. That is why it is easily tossed around and trampled on. You can buy nothing with a penny, and that is why most people don’t bother to pick it up from the ground.
If I see a penny on the ground, I always pick it up. I pick up several pennies during my walk through the parking lot of a middle school. Kids carelessly drop coins everywhere and they don’t bother to pick up a penny because they don’t know the value of money.
The penny for me is a spiritual tool.
There are some profound spiritual truths inscribed on that small piece of copper and zinc. Take a penny and feel it with your fingers. There are eight different inscriptions on it: One Cent, the Year it was minted, Lincoln Memorial, Face of Lincoln, Liberty, United States of America, E Pluribus Unum, and In God We Trust.
The penny contains the essence and soul of America.
Every time I pick up a penny, I say: Thank you Lord for the abundance.
Although it doesn’t look like abundance, the penny is a symbol of abundance in my life — food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and much more.
The face of Lincoln reminds me to pray for the President. Then there is the word liberty. You can spend fifteen minutes thanking God for the freedoms in the United States.
The phrase E Pluribus Unum always gives me chills. From many One — that is a profound statement about what America is all about. The United States is perhaps the only nation which has people from all other nations on Earth. I pray for continued unity and peace in our nation.
Then I look at the year the coin was minted. This penny I am holding today was minted in 1992, the same year my son Johnny was born.
During the 30 plus years of its existence, it must have traveled to thousands of places. It must have passed through the hands of millions of people. Or maybe it remained in a jar in somebody’s house, ignored for years. Maybe it stayed out in the cold, under a bridge for many years. Or in a fountain at a tourist location, blessing the person who threw it in for good luck.
The penny I am holding in my hand is a silent witness to the sadness and gladness, the triumphs and failures, or the loneliness and celebrations of thousands of people. The energy of every person who ever touched that penny over the years is part of it, and now I get to share my energy with those people. I feel connected to all those people. I say a prayer for them, feeling a sense of unity, connection, and compassion.
Then there are the four powerful words on it: In God We Trust.
I trust my life to God in the morning, knowing that regardless of what happens during the day, I will be held tenderly in the protective arms of the Universe.
I know it is not feasible or practical to walk around with a microscope in hand to see all the amazing views. The good news is that you are already fitted with two eyes which can be used as microscopes or binoculars to see the world.
Here again, if you study the delicate structure and intricate functioning of your eyes, and meditate on the retina, cornea, iris, and pupil and the instant electrical signals they send to your brain to help you see an object, you will be compelled to fall on your knees and worship the One who meticulously created and perfectly mounted such magnificent instruments on your face.
Train your eyes to graduate from glazed glancing to contemplative gaze which is a particular way of looking at reality.
It is the ability to look beyond what you see, to see beneath the surface, to see beyond labels.
It is the deeper vision which penetrates all the superficial things that culture, religion, and society have imposed on reality.
It is about taking yourself off automatic pilot and entering a whole new world of wonders by being open, receptive, and paying attention to everything around you.
You need to engage in panoramic vision instead of paranoid look to see holiness and wholeness all around you.
(from Cosmic Kindergarten: Earthly Lessons for a Heavenly Life)