"If you put your soul against this oar with me," he begins, "the power that made the universe will enter your sinew from a source not outside your limbs, but from a holy realm that lives in us."
the Sufi poet, Rumi
What if prayer is not necessarily bowing one's head, kneeling or positioning one's hands in front of the chest? What if much of prayer goes unnoticed?
My friend has injured her foot so I have been doing some "work" with it. Before beginning, I rub my hands on the sides of my shirt to waken them, to make them more sensitive to the patterns of energy coming from her foot. Then pausing, I briefly focus and feel into a larger space than the coffee I just brewed. I don't want to see the foot as damage but as whole or maybe, even as a new foot all together. Since I know nothing about bone, ligament or muscle, I truly am blind and at the mercy of the gods and those invisible helpers that some call guides, angels or entities.
Suddenly, I have an impression of myself from about ten feet away. My head is bent; my hands are folded against my chest in the middle of the kitchen. My friend is sitting there looking out to the lake, waiting for me to align my feeling and thought. Anyone coming into the kitchen would think I was praying. I share my impression with her, exclaiming, "And I wasn't even praying!" We look at each other. Pause. We start to laugh. Yet, wasn't I?
I am attempting to change my vibrations, shift my feelings to a higher level. I definitely have to lean my "oar" against something greater if any healing is to happen. I have to trust the "other side", the side I cannot see; as life experience tells me, this is a place where healing lives, breaths and has Being. This is the place I need to access: I need to ask. Not beg -- merely ask. And even then, I still know the invisible is a trust walk accompanied by a good dose of blind-faith.
Surely, the feeling is the prayer and must take many natural stances, as well, as religious. A lovely visit with a friend, listening to the loon in this early morning light or taking a few minutes to sit and color, at a request, from my Grands -- am I not hearing and sharing in a larger spirit with them and they with me. This must be praying, too. Their energies invite me into a deeper-me and a more caring space.
The ancient Christian scripture also encourages us to "pray without ceasing." Now, how do I do that with my hands in the dish pan, digging in the garden or raising ten kids?
My grandmother who was born in the 1800's often told me her greatest accomplishment was that she raised ten children and not one of them had died. Yet, how many miles did she walk, how many nights comforting children, too hot from fevers, willing them to live.
She also did another round of "unnoticed prayer" with me. My mother and I lived with my grandparents during the war. When I was four years old I contracted German measles and chicken pox at the same time. They kept my bedroom darkened as it was felt the pox in or around my eyes would leave me blind. I remember them rocking and walking me for hours. I remember being lost in fever. Yet, there was something in their voices, the way they held me which kept wanting me, willing me to get better.
photo source: scabrn, fotolia.com
* Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer by Gregg Braden