Two $64,000.00 Questions
How do you get yourself into a prayerful state when you are in that place that is anything but? I mean when you are fatigued or vengeful, enraged, bored to tears or jumping out of your skin? Or tethered to the material delights or devastations of this world? You know, on a typical day.
In that state yesterday, I went for a walk.
Now, right away, I want to say that you could substitute "I went for a ride", or "I started dancing" or "I got down on my knees" or "I pulled the covers up higher". Walking is not a panacea for everyone, everywhere. But for me, more often than not, when I leave the house to walk in any of the above states, I return home, different.
From experience, I am a believer in endorphins, those mysterious substances that start cookin' when I move more. Something shifts and when that movement happens, it seems to weed some things out and to open some portals. And in this way, room is made for prayer.
Here's what happened yesterday. I began walking - grumpy, uninspired and bored. I felt heavy in body and spirit. I was annoyed with the grating, intrusive sound of a garbage truck I was passing ("Don't you guys know the morning should be QUIET?"); critical of some landscaping in a yard I hadn't noticed before ("Ugh."); impatient with a car turning as I'm crossing ("Hey, I'm WALKING here!")
At about the one mile mark, (I literally turn a corner), a little breeze takes me by surprise. "Ah", I say. "That's nice." I meditate a bit on wafting, morning breezes, getting a bit high, and then I'm reminded that elsewhere at this very moment, lethal mutations of breezes are wreaking havoc and destruction. I feel some moments of compassion, remembering a friend, now faraway, who once provided shelter for me and hope she is reaping karmic rewards where she is today. Then I think of my house, with its roof and its power grid intact, and I feel a rush of gratitude. I think about the cycles our lives go through and of acceptance and faith. I feel the space within me opening up.
I turn another corner, now on my way home, and I notice the way the sun is rising and reflecting on the athletic field next to the school; a couple of fawns keep pace with me as I pass the park; a dog walker and I smile at each other as we pass.
Prayer has happened without me even trying, in spite of myself. Is it endorphins? Nature? The Divine? I am less concerned with the origins of this space and more interested in my stewardship of what has been created.
How will I use this prayerful state today?