On praying and other thoughts on what we believe

It’s going to be one of those nights. Barely through the door, I fell asleep at 7.30pm this evening, remnants of a badly digested jetlag. Now at 12.44am I am wide awake with a head that won’t stop spinning. But it’s more than that, not just the usual array of thoughts that have taken on a pressing priority. It’s a deep sense of uneasiness, a feeling of general worry that has made itself uncomfortably comfortable in my stomach and lower chest region. And since it fits with the theme, I am presented with the insight that it’s these kind of times that affect the human body negatively, poison it, well let’s name it, cause cancer.

 

So my brain kicks into full gear.

“Ok, remember your goal, tonight there’s nothing more left to do then to remember your goal and to love yourself”.

“Breathe that uneasy feeling away, In, Out, In, Out, until you hear the tree tops’ murmurs in the wind”.

“Let your thoughts run, not the emotions, you are in control not them”.

I am in control, I know that. I want to be in control, I know that too. I am bigger than my challenges and not the other way around. And still, today there is something missing.

 

All of a sudden I feel like praying. I remember praying before. I remember how the initial comfort it gave me, over the years turned into a guilty feeling for only praying when I felt the lost and lonely. That eventually turned into a feeling of not being worthy of knocking on someone’s door whose existence I often questioned.

 

“Our father, who art in heaven” (or more truthfully “Unser Vater, der Du bist im Himmel”)…….

That’s where the problem began. Somewhere along the lines, the image of an old man, sitting on a chair way up in the sky, overseeing the world didn’t make sense. Somewhere along the line, the distance to a Divine Being that is so far away that I can’t see it, seemed too far. And somewhere along the line, only being able to have an audience with that Being on Sunday morning in Church and before I went to bed became inconvenient.

So I changed. I stopped going to Church, not because it wasn’t in fashion, but because it didn’t make sense. I stopped praying, not because I stopped believing but because I didn’t know who to pray to.

 

Tibetan prayer flags. The other night while sitting at my oldest friend’s dinner table and listen to her speak about her experiences in Tibet, I suddenly understood. The reason why Buddhist beliefs appeals to me so much more than my religion’s beliefs is not a question of beliefs at all. The difference is the way the religion is taught and practiced.

 

I do believe. I do believe in the underlying ideas of the religions that I have come in contact with. I also do believe that we humans with the best of our intentions as well as the worst, have taken that idea and butchered it with our limited insight (again, there are exceptions), forced it into one book worth of instructions (in my religion that is) and misused it to control others.

 

All of a sudden the spouts of overwhelming gratitude, happiness, joy and inspiration that overcome me many times a day over seemingly small things like seeing the beauty of a flower or a homeless person’s face, feeling the warmth of a hug or the wind tickling my skin, witnessing a family member, friend, colleague, neighbour, stranger smile or open up to ask for help doesn’t seem that crazy or emotionally unstable anymore. I guess it’s just my take on a belief system. God (as one part of humans call IT, others might call in Love) is not sitting up high in the sky on a chair, judging our behaviour. God is in and around us. God is us.

 

And still. I miss praying. And I don’t think that any of my present conclusions exclude the idea of praying. On the contrary, they confirm the necessity for praying more (some of us humans might call it meditation or writing), as at least from where I am sitting, it never hurts to hear a comforting voice that believes in us and loves us. For me, it’s just not going to come only from an old, wise man in the sky anymore. Or maybe it will, after all I am ‘only’ human. 

 

Good and peacefull night to all of you are sleeping and good and peacefull day for all of you are awake.          

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~ by spasmicallyperfect on October 6, 2006.

2 Responses to “On praying and other thoughts on what we believe”

  1. I also lost my faith by not knowing what i was actually praying to. someone on a chair in the sky seemed rude to me. for ME to be judged by another to stay one place or ANOTHER? i think not!. well not seriously, but i definitely do not like the idea of being judged upon being good enough. i live by a rule of trying to be good, and if what i do doesnt get me into a warm place when i die, then i guess thats just what im stuck with. but for right NOW, i want to be happy, and praying for happiness isnt how i attain it. Praying happens after the fact for me. and its just a blatent “thankyou blah blah blah, life kicks ass yaddy yaddy yadda, thankyou rockout.” and thats about it
    no amens or omens or forgive me’s, i need no forgiveness for the sins i’ve committed i should be human enough to accept all i do and recieve.

    anyway, you made a very nice post.

    i spend many nights as well sitting on contemplated thoughts unable to sleep.

  2. Thanks for dropping by mage111 and leaving your footprint. Based on your blog – welcome to the blogging world 🙂 and thanks for adding me to it.
    Many more creative or peaceful sleep nights to you.

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