In the first “Prayer Redux” I mention that the form of prayer that many of us have been taught in the Christian community is straight up, miserable. I concluded that there’s got to be a better response to this idea of what prayer can be, and Barbra Brown Taylor seems to think so aswell with her quote on finding such maginifcent beauty in the created order and being able to orient her heart toward an expierence of God.
Similiar to Taylor, our Buddhist sisters and brothers offer us an invaluable way of prayer that for many Christian mystics has been their way of prayer for many hundreds of years. They’ve developed the idea of mindfulness, a way of waking up to the complexity of life by opening your heart and mind to the wild adventure of…silence.
Mindfulness is being fully aware of your surroundings while also attempting to detach yourself from the situation giving you a “less subjective” perspective. Mindfulness mediation is not about being in a trance, or about escaping from reality. It is about waking up. We spend most of our lives caught up in the conceptual knowledge we have acquired, and in our concepts of who we are, or what our lives mean.
Being mindful of your breathe is usualy a step one in getting into this meditative practice. Simple awareness of your breathing is all you need to do; you’re already doing it. Simply be aware of fit. This way of prayer is about being present, about being who you are, where you are, and when you are – being human is the best possible thing you can be (this all should sound a lot like incarnation, more on that to come in another post).
Richard Rohr, a Christian mystic, Catholic priest and all around bad ass writes, “I am increasingly convinced that the word prayer, which has become a functional and pious thing for believers to do, is, in fact, a descriptor for inner experience. That is why all spiritual teachers mandate prayer so much. They are saying, “Go inside and know yourself!” Jesus did after all say, “Go to your private room and shut the door, act in secret.”
Go, today, inside yourself and be still. Sillness is the gateway to recognizing God’s activity in the world, when we slow down the waters calm and God’s presence becomes all more real. Feel your lungs fill with air and be blown away by God’s creative love.