What is prayer
in the absence
A couple of nights ago, I was lying on the little pump up air bed, alone as always at night, not able to sleep though well after 1AM, words ascribed to Jesus twice, in the Lord's Prayer and in the Garden of Gethsemane, came to mind ~ “Thy Will Be Done.” This has been a favorite prayer of mine for years, having prayed this prayer in words or thought many times. These words have often encouraged me to remain surrendered or surrender again to Grace.
This night, something shifted. No words spoken, as I rarely speak prayer now, yet pray. There arose the noticing of happenings in the body, all those little movements and sensations, and the consequent attention to each. Attention moving too. All this happening.
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All this happening became “Thy Will Be Done.” Realization arose the prayer was happening, every sensation and movement, perception itself too, was that Thy Will occurring in mind and body. Now, not "Thy Will Be Done," rather "They Will Being Done" or "Thy Will Happening Now."
So, a relief, gratitude. No divine being somewhere else receiving the prayer, from Brian the subject to God the object. No object out somewhere to become the subject to answer or not in response to the now object Brian.
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Possibly, a needed aside here. I value prayer as spoken or enacted in ritual and rite. I value praying to God, as one understands that. I value what we could call Oneness includes a wide diversity of worship, as well as a wide diversity of everything. Yet, I write today of prayer as no one taught me, yet experienced as I have said and related to other teachings that provided a context for prayer happening to happen.
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Recollection arose later of working with my nephew preparing a floor for our resurfacing it. My nephew had a decorative concrete business. I had left South FL to return home for a season. I had no work. So, from Chaplain in a jail here I was on my knees working away on a concrete floor at night. This was hard physical labor, like I once did but had not in years. Yet, this night an epiphany arose. Suddenly, the realization ~ This is prayer. This toilsome labor on this hard concrete, each movement of body and mind was itself prayer, not something added to just this. Here, just this being prayer, with no needing to consider one was doing this for or directing it to anyone ~ just prayer.
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So, prayer here relates to suchness. In Buddhism “suchness” or “thusness” alludes to the ineffable quality within all phenomena, yet not identical to the phenomena itself. So, a rock is an appearance, not suchness itself as it appears to you or me. So, now, let us forget that. I mention it to clarify I am not speaking of such ontological ideology, however true or not.
I am speaking of "suchness" in common parlance, not ontology but rockology; that is; the nature of anything as is right here now, and this can be a rock being a rock and the environment in which that rock sits. So, a rock is a rock period, like someone once said, "I may be an illusion, but I'm a real illusion." The rock may be a manifestation of Whatever, yet hit the rock and your hand will hurt and you may need to go get stitches or a cast on the suchness that is hand that collided with the suchness that is rock. Regardless of ontological theorizing, "Ouch!"
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Suchness becomes prayer. I use this in the sense of a rock is a rock for it is simply a rock, so, Brian working on the concrete floor is Brian working on a concrete floor for that is what Brian is doing and where the doing is happening. Suchness ~ Brian is lying on the bed, sensations, movements, attention attentioning. Thy Will Doing, not Be Done.
No separation between prayer and suchness, you and I suchness also and, so, can be being prayer also. No way to make this happen for you or me, this happens when you and I are prepared for prayer, worship, love, grace ... to happen.
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With this suchness being prayer now, there is no need to move away into some thought of nonduality or duality or ontology or theology, no religion or spirituality. No, when this suchness right here opens to being prayer, so that there remains no one praying and no one being prayed to, knowing just-this-happening is enough.
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So, see, as I opened with ~ "What is prayer in the absence of prayer?" Well, at least to the suchness that is this here-now Brian ~ Prayer in the absence of prayer is prayer.
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*The vision statement for Lotus of the Heart is Living in Love beyond Beliefs.
*All material, unless another source is cited, is authored by the presenter of Lotus of Heart, Brian Kenneth Wilcox, Florida USA. Use of the material is permitted; Brian only requests that credit be given and to be notified at firstname.lastname@example.org .
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union, is available through major booksellers.
*Move cursor over pictures for photographer and title.
The Sacred in Me bows
to the Sacred in You