February 21 (1 day ago)
Tomorrow, 02/22, at 2:00 pm Central Time Zone, I will be in the 4 o’clock hour in the Eastern Time Zone. I will be, in all likelihood, standing in the kitchen. I may be sweeping a floor, or asking about homework. I will not be Standing trying to hold sacred land, or Standing in the face of militarized corporate troops.
I will, however, not forget to pray at that moment. I will set an alarm.
I used to think that prayer didn’t do anything, and then I started praying.
If nothing else, it puts something square in the mind, focuses a hope, offers reassurance, and reminds me to be thankful not just for all I have in my generally pretty darn excellent life, but also to be thankful to all the forces seen and unseen that work within my life. Even this most basic function of prayer has some fairly remarkable effects. It’s grounding and feels proactive, like I’m doing the only thing I know to do in a situation in which I feel powerless, in which I need reassurance that other humans can only sometimes offer. All of this works, in me to produce an easing of my heart, an acceptance and a trust that, somehow, I am not in this alone.
Even if a person doesn’t believe in God, or Allah, or another form of a Higher Power, a person can still pray.
However, if one believes in God, or another powerful being of some sort, or the power of ancestors, or of spirits in some Holy form, then – in my estimation – Prayer becomes even more potent, because the thought that something bigger than an individual life can somehow know what is in the heart and on the mind, and has the power to actually do things in the world…well, that’s a pretty awesome thought, in my opinion.
I mean the lurking omniscience aspect is creepy, but – once you get used to the notion of something knowing everything…well, it’s kind of comforting?
I don’t know how to explain to people that I think about God in Scientific terms. Meaning, that when I picture God, I see electricity and ethers, hear the laughter and weeping of a hundred bajillion small occurrences all happening at once, I picture an instantaneous knowing, a brief flash of wave form, a signal and code.
All the Saints and all the Ghosts are currents, patterns, bundles of light.
I guess that might be offensive to some people?
Well, never you mind, tomorrow, 02/22, at 2:00pm CST, 4 o’ clock Eastern, I am going to be praying to all the powers that be and that have been that some great force intercede on behalf of the land and of the Water and of the People…and maybe if I can find enough quiet, I will be able to picture some great turning of the tide, some sort of Holy Justice…and the thought of it, the feel of it – a pearline glow in my chest, a ringing in my ears*, a minor breathlessness with stunning detail – is so wondrous and big and deeply real that I can imagine my own electricity expanding, thrumming, finding concurrence with some channel of conscious metaphysical phenomena…and that, somehow, the thing that I am focused on, the thing I am praying about, will be impacted, even in the slightest way, by my praying about it…
I usually feel a stumbling block of resistance when I think about the potential for prayer – deep, heartfelt prayer, not just words – to actually impact outcomes of reality beyond my immediate concrete sphere…
“Um, yeah . . . right”
Then I remember that if God works through electricity (or, ahem, is partially comprised of electricity – which everything is) then God can discern general-if-not-specific information from patterns and currents of electrical activity, and God can also manipulate anything that has to do with electricity, and can – in that way – make things happen.
Then it seems a little more plausible to me, the idea that prayer can change a situation by causing actions within events beyond one’s perceived control.
9:18am (13 hours ago)
At some point, my father told me that it “worried” him when I started talking about postmodernism or phenomenology. He may have even used the word “scared” – that it scared him.
Why do I feel like every time I say anything about God or ideas, someone is gonna think I am losing my mind?
A worry is enmeshed with my spirituality, a reflexive unease.
Yes, there have been times that I have talked about God and my beliefs about what God might be, or what God is to me, how I understand and experience God . . . and, well – yeah – I was a little out of my mind at times, but that wasn’t because I was talking about God, it was because my walking-talking life was falling apart and, with it, my sense of self and valued identity, the defining constructs of my reality.
If anything, talking about God helped me to not go even more crazy, helped me to try to do the right thing – the gracious thing, the accepting thing, the kind thing.
Yes, I messed it up . . . tremendously…because I am human and I am fallible and what I may discern is subject to the gaps and shadows of my mind, the boundaries and longings of my ego, whatever I may feel is sent through the tangles and glitches of my nervous system, and the significance – the meaning – I give to things is, therefore, sometimes a mess.
I have a lot of things on my mind that I have wanted to write about these past few days. Moments and ideas. I hope that I don’t forget these things.
For a long time, 25 years or so, 222 has been my favorite number. So, if for no other reason, today was significant because it was 02/22.
The prayer pictured above was written by a person who attends the free farmer’s market at the Senior Center. The prayer was offered to the group who met for Bible study after the market. I asked the person who wrote it if I could take a picture of it, told them that I had been thinking about prayer a lot lately and that I liked it, appreciated it. They folded the piece of paper and gave it to me.
The banner hung in the window was shown to me this morning. “I will picture that when I pray this afternoon.”
…and, even if I was unfortunately distracted by the activity of the afternoon, as I anticipated that I may be, I still did hold that image in my mind for a few moments, standing in the kitchen.
*that ringing in my ears is tinnitus.