Sunday Service in my Head 1/5/14
No one who knows me would be surprised that I adore His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. From the official page of HHDL “The Dalai Lamas are believed to be manifestations of Avalokiteshvera or Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and the patron saint of Tibet. Bodhisattvas are believed to be enlightened beings who have postponed their own nirvana and chosen to take rebirth in order to serve humanity.”
My friend Deb had gifted me with the book ” The Art of Purring” written from the perspective of the Dalai Lama’s cat (HHC). Life presented me with some extended down time, so I had to opportunity to enjoy it earlier than originally planned. One of the things I enjoyed most about the book, was imagining myself in the settings described, especially what it would like to be in the familiar presence of my number one choice for a dinner guest if that opportunity ever presented itself.
Sunday Service in my Head takes many routes to make it to your eyes. I save clippets and thoughts, quotes and pictures, things that gong a tone within me for what to share. For this week, I had been contemplating consistent compassion. Generosity of self. Instant forgiveness. Non- judgment. Okay.. everyone who knows me, and has read anything I have written knows I meditate on these qualities often, but this week there was a strong and consistent focus, not a daily practice or aspect of the day.
Spouting spiritual talk is one thing, but living from that place is another. While at Rite Aid (pharmacy) yesterday, I was given the perfect opportunity to walk my talk. The person taking my prescription was rather blunt and on the rude side. I was surprised at how I experienced more of an awareness of her actions, than a reaction. Being I was rather worn down from some pain I was experiencing, and exhausted from the roller coaster ride I had been on for a couple of days, I was very surprised in myself that I was so detached from her actions. I had been reading “The Art of Purring”, and think I was so saturated with the words, and thoughts I was having prompted by reading them, that was the natural reaction.
As is the usual way, my sharings evolve as I put the letters together. I start out in one place, and I am led to consider something different. I originally had a lovely graphic for this spot (which will show up some day), but I did a search for LIVING PRAYER and came across the page of Hali Karla, which was actually perfect for where this was going.
The “Living Prayer” piece was how I found her page, but her encouragement in using art as a vehicle for prayer kept me there for a while. My thoughts have been on everything as prayer. All acts as an opportunity for compassion. All situations as an option to be of service. I don’t accept that prayer has to be weighty and complicated. While I do believe structured prayer has its place in ritual, all events in our lives give us an opportunity to live from prayer. Understanding prayer as a vehicle for oneness and connection to the Divine Source. Not necessarily praying for specific outcomes, but instead offering all actions as prayers to come from that berth where all we are and all we offer to the world, is from our place of Divinity.
If you do your own research, you will find an abundance of different ideas, pictures, books, practices, for Living Prayer. I hope you do. My vision for all who read this is that they find at least one action in their daily life that they can re-create, to turn into an offering of prayer. Some thoughts:
- While cooking – give thanks for the food and ask the blessing for all of those who will eat.
- While doing dishes – give thanks for the good you have received in the form of a meal, and any fellowship.
- MINDFULNESS - if you could add one practice into your life, that would change everything as you know it, it would be living from a place of mindfulness. The Dalai Lama spoke about Ethical Mindfulness in Everyday Life, during his June 2013 visit to Australia. This video is just under three hours, but worth scheduling in. (Actually Mindfulness should get a post of its own, but it really wants to be a part of Team Prayer right now)
- When doing your gratitude list at the end of every day (and if you aren’t already listing at least five things, consider getting on that), state ” I give thanks for”. Giving thanks is a powerful form of prayer.
- Prayer for the qualities you strive for. You saw my current focus in the third paragraph.
- Take a walk, and talk to whoever you are comfortable talking to.
- Don’t make it complicated. Make it continuous. Integrate prayer in your song, your art, your dance, your cooking, your family time, your work, your play, your conversations. Marinate yourself often in the connection, and you will be aware of the ripples of change in your life.
- I signed up for Hali Kara’s monthly prompt. Align with others who have similar purpose, those listening to their Inner Voices. Include regular practices to bring you back to the place, where it is only natural to live prayer more continually.
- Be generous with yourself and be in service whenever opportunity arises.
- Be kind.
- You don’t have be down on your knees, or at temple to pray. You can so beautifully and colorfully saturate a moment with prayer, it splashes onto the rest of the day.
- Reminder – go gentle on yourself. Love yourself through every process.
As soon as I knew Living Prayer was the topic of this weeks SSIMH, I scouted out this Kierkegaard quote, to bring home the finale
“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”
~~ Soren Kierkegaard
If you are being generous to yourself, and giving yourself some time to be still and meditate, you may enjoy this “LIVING PRAYER” meditation by Kelly Howell. I own this one, and enjoy it very much.click me