(photo courtesy babasteve)
Prayer, especially in the western tradition, has become somewhat of a solemn affair, usually used to invoke something from Someone for self or someone else. Nothing wrong with this. Prayer, meditation is a very good thing. Keeps one grounded, connected and a bit humbled — not by a thundering God — but by a stunningly powerful universe, of which we are an intimate part.
But perhaps now is the time to expand the concept of prayer to include a more…active approach. The Zen Buddhists have it right: everything can be a prayer.
Everything should be a prayer.
Everything is a prayer.
Make mowing the lawn a prayer, and not a downturned-head affair of somewhat embarrassed reflection, but a song of movement and breath and grass and sunlight and water; the weight and the rumble of an engine, the smell of oil and gas.
Make sex, whether self-pleasured or shared, a prayer. And not one of cultural or personal or religious shame and hesitation, but one of giddy and giggling and laughter-infused passion; of gratitude for the feeling of pleasure, of physical joy radiated out into the universe. A prayer of orgasm, free, open and astonishing.
Make doing the dishes and washing clothes and cleaning the house an act of prayer, an act of consciousness. For we are doing something that not even the archangels can do.
Make laughter a prayer. And sorrow. And pain. And even fear because as we face fear and acknowledge it and make it a sacred event, it delivers us to our freedom, to our light. To our Self.
Make work and typing and Internet cruising a prayer of adventure and knowledge and delight in the power of communication.
Make bowel movements and headaches and hangovers a prayer by simply being present for them, because even these we will miss profoundly when we are gone.
Make of our lives a prayer by living them honestly and openly and bravely.
Make our breath a prayer, for there is ecstasy there, and life, and the Divine.
Make death and passing a prayer of life simply lived, for this is not a journey for the faint-of-heart, regardless of our successes or failures, crimes or punishments. As Shakespeare wrote, “There is a special providence in even the fall of a sparrow.”
My prayer for you: that the winds of time and life blow gently at your back.