Friday, February 14, 2014

The Action of Prayer


"Seek there," I said yesterday. 

It was distinct, in that moment; inner, and of one whole substance.

But where is "there?"

"There" is where we pray; and prayer is, as Jeanne de Salzmann says,  The need to open. (The Reality of Being, P. 65)

It may seem difficult to cite prayer as the place to seek; yet where else can one go? In coming into relationship with a finer energy, all action naturally becomes prayer; or, rather, all action is naturally seen as prayer, and, if I have this insight... even the slightest touch of it... I can perhaps for the first time begin to understand what the word see truly means. It does not, for example, have much of anything to do with the myriad psychological insights and clever thoughts I have over the course of a day... or a lifetime. To see is a much higher action; and it involves this understanding of action as prayer.

All action is, after all, prayer; as all action is an unfolding of divine will that perpetually opens itself in submission to the action of divine Grace and Mercy. Each and every unfolding is a turning towards the Lord; we don't see this because the inner action that ought to reveal it is obscured. One can come up with many explanations for why; the chief culprit, as Gurdjieff and de Salzmann would have it, is tension, and yet when we peel off the skin of that orange we discover that nearly everything we do is tension, in the same way that Gurdjieff once told Ouspensky that for all practical purposes, everything we are is Chief Feature. It's all tension; our thought, our emoting, our physical habits. 

Tension is a straining, a stress; it comes from forces opposing one another. There is an inner path past that territory, but it is hard won; or, that is, never won at all, but only bestowed, according to Graces we don't understand and have no power over. Technical ideas about inner work: exercises, positions, movements: we all want a magic ritual to prepare us, when in fact I think the preparation is only in suffering; only in that emotional territory that ruthlessly—yet so very gently—exposes what we really are.

I continually turn to prayer these days, because I don't know where else to go. An education is needed; but I'm no educator. Compassion is needed, but I'm not compassionate. And loving kindness—well, that, too, is necessary, but I don;'t know much about that either.

There is a point of work where prayer takes me past imagination and into the heart of the matter. It's there that I can perhaps catch an occasional glimpse of what I am. 

Face to face with my own helplessness: that's opening. 

And it's all I really have to offer.

Hosannah.






1 comment:

  1. 'Technical ideas about inner work: exercises, positions, movements: we all want a magic ritual to prepare us, when in fact I think the preparation is only in suffering; only in that emotional territory that ruthlessly—yet so very gently—exposes what we really are.' Well, that's it really, goodbye weeks in switzerland

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