Sunday, March 17, 2013

Reflection and Prayer

Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths, or the turning inwards in prayer for five short minutes.
--Etty Hillesum
One of the problems, though, is that sometimes we have to learn to be mindful of the breaths and the minutes of prayer. That doesn't just mean taking the time to do it- it means we have to become aware that we are breathing and even praying. With something as natural (and necessary) as breathing, we don't pay any attention to it until it is difficult. Like when walking up a steep flight of stairs or an asthma attack makes it harder to breathe. We don't pay attention to the possibility or existence of prayer until we are in the proverbial fox-hole where, we are told, there are never any atheists.

What if prayer became as natural as breathing and breathing became as intentional as prayer?

What if prayer- as the ability of talking to God was what we did on a regular basis and breathing was what we paid attention to needing each moment?

Sure, some might say, we would never get anywhere since all we would do would be talk to God and count our breaths. I don't think so. I have a hunch that once we became more mindful of our breathing we would most likely fall into a healthy balance- a rhythm based on the normal ins- and outs- of our breath. I also have a hunch that if prayer became as intuitive and natural as breathing we would become more and more conscious of the presence of God around and within us all times of all days.

I don't think we can ever be THAT perfect at it.

But it is sure worth the journey.

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