As the energy of Summer builds, the days are longer and the invitations, activities, and projects on the rise. The great outdoors is calling for gardening, hiking, and camping.
It’s all wonderful and sometimes exhausting!
With all this outer activity our inner terrain may be neglected. When do we find the time for prayer?
First of all ask yourself, what is prayer? I describe it as “communion” with all that is, ourselves, each other, the Earth, and Divine. It’s more about this awareness than actually doing something. I call it prayerness. There is deep reverence in living life with awareness.
As we move through our day from one activity to the next, we are often one step ahead of ourselves, already anticipating our next action, and so not fully present. The slightest shift of awareness to what you are actually doing in the present illuminates this ordinary activity to something sacred.
I start with my breath, bringing awareness to the inhale and exhale. I feel my body being breathed as I identify my action such as walking or eating. When I notice my mind has wandered, I bring my awareness back to walking or eating or whatever I am doing. I feel a relationship and connection with my body and actions.
If I am chopping vegetables with awareness, I can feel their life force and the vibrations of their colors. I feel the energy and nourishment that they offer and that I will soon ingest. This brings up such gratitude, as in these moments I am in communion with the miracle of life.
I bow to this creation: the Earth and Sun, Moon, rain, and cycles of life. I bless the farmers and everyone involved in this cornucopia. This prayerness is spiritual sustenance that I embody in my every cell.
Do you ever notice how you feel when you say things like “I’m going to jump in the shower” or “run to the bathroom” or “grab a quick bite”?
Short showers do save water, yet being fully present to the flow of warm water over your body can seem to last forever. A warm shower is such an amazing luxury that we often take for granted. It is a great gift and opportunity for reflection and gratitude.
Just like the miracle of hot running water, our body’s function and our many ordinary daily activities are in reality monumental. What seems small can mean so much. When you see a homeless person on the corner with a sign saying “please help,” take a few seconds to bless him, to not turn away, to acknowledge his presence in any way you can.
In an existential context, sitting with a friend as her body declines and she leaves this life is communion beyond understanding. Being with her family after she passes expands the capacity for compassion and presence for the sacred witness.
Presence is Prayer. To pray, you don’t have to go anywhere. You need no training or special equipment. Awareness of the present is essential. You can’t multitask the present moment. It’s as close as your breath. Inspire, breathe in Spirit.
Our world is not merely a container for us to live our lives in. Everything is alive. There is no empty space; even the air is alive. The air that you breathe is the air that I breathe. We are breathing with vegetation as we inhale the oxygen that it releases and exhale the carbon dioxide that it thrives on. It is beyond connection, which imagines separate entities coming together, but truly one intricate organism.
We are all made of the same elements. We are the stuff of stars. Recycled and shifting shapes, we are the energy of creation. This energy blossoms the cherry tree, spins the planets, and beats our hearts. It is the magnificent force that permeates all of life.
How I pray is with the awareness of living in balance and coherence with all of life. This awareness includes when I am broken open and off balance too. Prayer is self-care. Treating ourselves with loving kindness opens our hearts to include each other and the Earth.
To me, how I pray is how I live. How I am in alignment with my highest values and intention. How I pray is with every breath, word and action. Prayerness is living life with awareness.
Have a wonderful Summer!