Prayer takes the mind out of the narrowness of self-interest, and enables us to see the world in the mirror of the holy. For when we betake ourselves to the extreme opposite of the ego, we can behold a situation from the aspect of God…..Abraham Heshel
and our lives find its way, seeking out, mending in, lifting up, settling down…..may the ancient wisdom of folding in to prayer guide our days, soften our nights, hollow out confusion, and deepen the sweetness…..
Prayer is foremost a way of being. Sometimes it finds its way into words, but even when it doesn’t, it makes life a dialogue. I simply trust the impulse to pray. It is strong and sometimes overwhelming. It is clearly a natural instinct and therefore can be trusted as valuable. Prayer makes us holy. It represents our awareness that we live in at least two universes: the world of the senses that we control- ego- and the world of mystery and timelessness that far transcends our abilities. By keeping these two universes connected, prayer makes holiness possible. Prayer doesn’t arise out of meekness and need only; it expresses our strength and is a sign of deep intelligence. We pray because we can stretch beyond our narcissism, knowing that our life is a grace and that the mysteries we are born into ask for acknowledgment. This approach to prayer may appear naive, but life not fully explained has a basic simplicity about it. To be in touch with invisible presences need not be naive; on the contrary it may represent a vital and sophisticated religious imagination. Prayer connects me to the depths and heights of the world in which I live. If I don’t pray, I live as though life were wafer thin and purely horizontal. But when I pray, I bring to bear the vertical dimensions, which offer meaning and value. Everything that is done in the practical world is completed by prayer. all the effort finds its value in being tied to the mysteries. The mystic advises us to pray always, to simply be aware of the grace that permeates everything at every moment just as the water permeates the lake. There is nothing to do but stand in this water. Like fish we breathe in the life-giving nutrients that are naturally present. We understand that grace is not given apart from life but is food for the soul that saturates everything in existence…..Thomas Moore
My friend Alta’s life was a lesson to me, and her death was a lesson to me, too. She enjoyed good health for 79 years, then quite suddenly she became desperately ill, and it was clear she would die very soon. She accepted this awareness with her normal consummate grace. That was half the lesson she taught me. The other half was about what makes sense. On the last day Alta could talk to me, two days before she died, we talked about meaning. ‘I’m thinking about the meaning of it all,’ she said, ‘and it doesn’t seem very important. What do you think?’ ‘Maybe it’s much ado about nothing,’ I said. ‘Seems like that,’ she replied, adding, ‘You did a good eulogy for your father.’ ‘I’ll do yours too.’ ‘I wouldn’t want to put you to any trouble…..’ ‘Give me a break, Alta! What do you want me to say?’ ‘It doesn’t matter. Say anything you want.’ ‘How about if I give your recipe for the great marinated mushrooms you make?’ ‘That’s a good idea. They were very good. People liked them a lot.’ ‘Do you remember the recipe? You could give it to me now.’ ‘Not exactly. Look it up. It’s in my recipe box. Remember to say they shouldn’t be made more than four hours before you eat them. The mushrooms wilt.’ Mushrooms are as meaningful as anything else……Sylvia Boorstein