A colleague in one of our collegial Facebook groups asked this week:
1- How do You pray? 2- How in your mind does prayer work?
My response to the thread:
As a theist, prayer for me means intentionally connecting with and experiencing that which I call Holy. Daily I do so in stillness and silence, extending deep gratitude for life and the gifts therein. Also as a practice through reciting the Aramaic version of Kabbalistic Cross aloud as the vibration of the mantra brings me into full presence with the divinity in me and around me.
Gregg Braden’s book “Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer” really resonated with me a few years ago. As does the philosophy of Laura Day in The Circle where she demonstrates how the power of a single wish can transform one’s life.
I turn to prayer in gratitude and also in surrender when circumstances are beyond my control. Sometimes my prayers manifest in writings and visualizations; oftentimes the simple act of touching my hand to my heart and humming (kind of like the Om) places me in conscious union with the divine.
There is holiness in quiet and in sound, in stillness and in movement.
I believe that prayer can be as diverse as that which we call Holy and can be made manifest through words, thoughts and deeds, such as daily acts of grace and gratitude.
“Move Your Body!” This is a message I believe most of us need throughout out each day, and especially during stressful or worrisome times. And, most critical to those among us who cope with degrees of depression and anxiety.
Human minds innately have a universal mode of working overtime keeping us focused on what is paramount in our hearts. When new love or excitement about an upcoming adventure is in our hearts, we focus on that. When financial burdens or circumstances out of our control are weighing on us, we focus on that.
While the first scenario can be quite welcome, bringing with it boosts in healthy hormones, the latter can become debilitating in the chemical and emotional states it places our bodies in as we find our thoughts in repetitious patterns, looping over and over the circumstances taking precedence in our hearts and minds. We can spiral downward, and critically so.
The Move Your Body mantra can become a life-saving tool to turn to to snap yourself out of the congestion of our minds and help achieve moments of homeostasis. When we notice we are in mental gridlock, if we cultivate a new pattern of Moving Our Bodies, we can condition our hearts, minds and bodies toward a new kind of self-regulated equilibrium. Like any new skill, it takes commitment and practice.
Special Thanks to my friends Heather Bond and Beth Amine for both emulating and demonstrating this life-saving conditioning for their clients!
This year’s UU Common Read (2018-19) book selection is “Justice on Earth: People of Faith Working at the Intersections of Race, Class, and Environment.”This book, published by Skinner House and edited by Manish Mishra-Marzetti and Jennifer Nordstrom, explores the ways in which racial justice, environmental justice, and economic justice, seemingly competing issues for our time, are intertwined. We look forward to exploring this book in our study group in April 2019!