Yesterday as I lay on my mat to rest at the end of my yoga class I contemplated praying. And it occurred to me that while I’ve witnessed a fair amount of praying in my time as others went about their devotions, while I’ve tried to join in with sincerity and feeling in my heart, it had always felt a little pointless.
I’d wondered, who is this being I’m supposed to be speaking to? Did he (yes, always a ‘he’, don’t judge me, I was raised in the patriarchy), have a form? A face? Did he hear and decide to take action? Or was it enough for him to listen? Or maybe those are the thoughts I’m having now.
But yesterday, yesterday as I lay on my mat having failed, I must be honest, to identify my diaphragm which the class was all about, my mind wandered back to the anxiety, worry and concern of everyday life and without giving much pause for logic or reflection I contemplated, yes, I really did, I contemplated praying.
In that moment I understood that others before me defeated by the cruelty of nature or other humans or the universe or ‘the being’ himself, simply find themselves out of options and decide to pray. They’d tried trusting that things will get better, they’d tried getting angry or sad or fearful, they’d tried denial or avoidance or defending. But none of those things, not really, had helped. Or they may have momentarily.
Others have thrown themselves in to action or movement or creativity and those things feel good it has to be said, perhaps because they are a little like prayer. And so it also occurs to me that maybe praying is not driven by speaking to an outside force although sometimes we need to feel that it does to make it real. It’s more like speaking to the hope within us all that maybe, just maybe, something magical will occur.
A miracle if you like or the simple belief that things will get better.
Just as the daffodil emerges yellow from its green husk or the bird sings every day or the kind nurse holds the hand of the dying or the sick or the clever scientist finds a vaccine or a cure or even discovers the reason and the antidote, we plead for release from our pain and as we do, perhaps and just maybe, something will shift within us and give us comfort and healing. Again, to hold our beloveds and caress the faces of the babies and the toddlers and the children and kiss their cool, sweet hair and laugh together while we break bread around our tables.
That is my prayer.