Tuesday, September 04, 2007

In Which I Read a Book on Prayer
I love Thich Nhat Hanh so there is almost no reason for me to write a review of his writings. I will never write a bad review. At worst I might say, “This is not one of my favorites of his books but this is still so far superior that I highly recommend it when compared with other books on this subject.” I’ve been reading a lot on prayer lately, mostly from a Catholic perspective. I was feeling frustrated and dissatisfied with my praying and stepped back a bit, returned to what gave me the experience of truly connecting with myself and the Divine. I picked up The Energy of Prayer from my shelf on a whim. It was there and I was burnt out on reading about prayer, finally enjoying my prayer life again. Picking up a book on prayer was rather like waking up a hibernating bear. Everything was calm, feeling right again. Why stir up and possibly muddy the clarity? Why not? I read this book slowly even though it is a quick and breezy volume. I would not sit and read through a chapter. I would return to the chapter a bit at a time. It took me a day, if not longer, to read through a single chapter. This was what I needed, what I wanted, and I am glad I did not resist the intuitive part of me that said I should read this book now. On page 58 of the book is a diagram of prayer. The one on the left represents the typical conception of prayer. A is praying for B. The prayer goes from A to God and then from God to B. This is certainly true of most teachings on prayer, that we are praying to some Other beyond our selves, whether that other is God, Jesus, Allah, Buddha, the saints, et al.
However, this is not what I believe and when I saw the diagram on the right I stopped reading for an entire day and just let the diagram teach me. I stopped reading the words and just let the visual explain the lessons of prayer. There are meditation practices in the back of the book to which I cannot commit myself at this time because I am committed to something else at this time. That is okay. I have the book. I will place it in my meditation area and, when the time is right, I will use the suggested practices. After all, I read the book at the right time. My intuition will guide me.
PS: I apologize for the blurrinesss of the image but the scanner is not yet hooked up so I had to use my camera phone. *sigh*

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