Monday, June 22, 2020

On Prayer

Before I begin, I pause with a silent prayer. It’s silent … but it’s not a secret … I mean, I’m telling you about it now … and I wouldn’t mind cluing you in on the words so you could use them too, but … really … there are no words. Instead, I’m looking for the silence inside that pause. It’s a moment to ground and center, to ensure my head is on straight before I begin. It’s a moment to ensure my intention is aligned. It’s a check that my ego is set aside. It’s a binding of my tongue that it not stray as the words depart my lips. It’s that last surrender to the faith that one who hears the words will find whatever message they are meant to receive, regardless of my own foibles and imperfections in their delivery.

And you know, maybe there is something that I would like to say ~ some insight, some lesson, some admonishment, something clever, or some other message that I want to convey, and maybe I even hope my thinking will benefit you ~ after all, that would probably make me feel pretty good too… But even if I can’t strip myself from the words, at least let me not stray so far from the course that what is meant to be heard is lost. Keep me at least pointed in the right direction ~ so that regardless of whatever I had hoped to convey, let me release what I was compelled to say and and let me depart that moment without the need to look back, without any question that some arrow found its target.

Maybe it’s some bastardization of Catholicism, Zen, and even Aikido practices, all mixed with a life’s experience plus a question, “Why?”, all resulting in some temporary understanding, but here’s what’s at the root: I do not pray for what I need. If there is a God, I trust this God knows me perfectly, to include knowing what I need. If God requires that I ask or that I explain, or insists upon testing me, then this God is not God. Similarly, I don’t ask to be heard or understood. I used to, but it was exhausting. A life of trying to be heard finds more who aren’t listening, and trying to be understood finds more who won’t understand. Instead, I remind myself that what needs to be heard and what needs to be understood will be. I’ll do my part in every moment, but it’s simply not up to me.

And when passions are roused and I am moved to speak or act, for better or for worse ~ I try to accept that my part in it all was fulfilled.

… and within that pause, maybe having found that silence, having set aside ego, having set aside the needs to be heard and understood, having set aside the concern that my delivery can affect what you hear at all, and having set aside my rationalization of it all, I end my prayer … and we are ready to begin.

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