Monday, September 29, 2014

The Many Forms of Prayer

Rumi said, "There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the earth."  When we spend time doing sacred art, writing or reading spiritual poetry, or  joining with others in ecstatic dance, we are expressing just a few of those hundreds of ways.  Every moment of every day, every breath we take, every step we make can be a prayer.  Pilgrimages are prayers.  Mantras and chanting are prayers. Doing the rosary, taking a walk out in nature, our whole life is a prayer.  We come into this life with a breath, we go out with another.  Our words, our thoughts -- all of these are prayers.

To me, prayer is a celebration of the soul.  Whether we realize it or not, just being alive takes us there. We can pray in groups.  As we meet, as we dance and move together, we are in prayer.    We pray with our agreements.  Whenever we come together and join our thoughts as one, that is also a prayer.  It's good to pay heed to what we agree on. 

Sometimes on retreat we are blessed with the experience of silent meals.  These are just another opportunity to move into the depth of our experience and celebrate the many joys of life.  Sand paintings, mandalas, aboriginal forms of art -- these are also celebrations of life, and of soul, and of the nature of being.  They are prayers too. 

When we bring ourselves consciously to prayer, we open to a heightened sense of self.  Our heart opens, our mind aligns, and we stand in our truth and in our power.  From this place it's not just our mouth or our intellect, it's our whole being.  This is how we change our world, one of us at a time, changing what's inside of us changes what's outside of us and thus all around us.

Join me now in this little mantra as a group prayer.  This comes from the Buddhist tradition of Vipassanā and it is a Metta or Loving Kindness Meditation.  "May all beings be peaceful, may all beings be free from suffering, may all beings be happy, may all beings be free." 

© Josephine Laing, 2014

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