Friday, November 22, 2013

What is praying?

I am asking myself. I feel I have never been particularly good at it, at least not in the form that I think of as prayer.

I was talking about it this week with one of my sons, then another. A friend of the family, my son's friend particularly, is in the hospital, in a coma. We are all thinking of him and waiting for news, hoping that the news will be good.

Does it comfort you to think that maybe just keeping him in your heart and your thoughts is a kind of prayer?  I asked my son.

Does it comfort me to think this?

I am trying to keep an image of David, our friend, in my thoughts. An image of him happy. A lively image.

Is this prayer? Is it important that it be prayer?

I remember when I was in Vermont at the artists' colony. The founders of the colony practiced Buddhism. At the time, I felt skeptical of this, and thought of it as an appropriation of a religious tradition from an entire other culture.

One of my new friends at the colony, a poet, said, The idea is that the person meditating thinks of the suffering of the world and holds it in her kind Buddhist heart.

Appropriation or not, how could this be wrong?

In the spiritual tradition of my people, there is a scripture that calls upon the believer to cry to the Lord when ye are in your fields and over all your household, morning and mid-day and evening. Other places, too--the volume and breadth of the locations of this cry to God seemed to me, always, to suggest that a person could keep a prayer--a cry, a thought, a gesture--always with her. Often, at least.

I am remembering the times he was in my house, when he ate something I made, when he and my son were talking.

I am thinking about my sons and my daughters.

I am hoping soon to hear that David is awake and alive. I am hoping. In my heart, he is awake and alive.


  1. I have thoughts like this. "Isn't it convenient that I'm praying now," holding thoughts of the suffering people in my heart, now that I need them. But maybe it's OK. Maybe prayer works best when it's convenient.

  2. So sorry to hear this, L. You and you family and friend are in my heart.

  3. Sending love and thoughts of peace and healing to you and yours, HT. Namaste.

  4. I think that prayer is exactly this. Weill continue to do so.

  5. I will keep your David in my heart, too.



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