Thursday, 2 June 2016

On Prayer

The first day of winter, and a mild but still wintry looking day - the trees and grasses a little bleak.

The news this week also a little (a lot) bleak: unprecedented and seemingly catastrophic bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef, and all that it signifies about what we are continuing not to do to respond to climate change.

I feel oppressed and made powerless by the huge inertia pervading our politics and economic life in the face of all this. And I wonder about prayer and its effect. Can praying make a difference? 

Two things seem true to me. One is that consciousness or awareness affects the field of energy. The second is that the quality of consciousness or awareness is internally related to the quality of attention. We know this in our experience. When someone pays true attention to us, is aware of us and present to us, then our well-being is affected. Something life-giving seems to happen in the energetic field.

Simone Weil says that prayer is about attention. It's the willingness to be present to, to pay attention to the other, free of self-regard or self-consciousness. Sometimes I get the sense that it's about being consciously available as place, a channel for the life-sustaining and renewing energy of the Creator in the world. The Spirit praying within us with sighs too deep for words. 

To offer myself as that place requires being with the pain of it all - the suffering of the world, and my own grief and fear. What's important is not to dramatise and get in the way, and at the same time not to avoid and deny. It's rather bearing with, enduring, undergoing. There's energy in that, I sense - it's the work of redemption.

Shalom, Sarah

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Sarah, for these words about prayer. As you suggest, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the struggles and devastations in the world. These words encourage us to keep faith with noticing, naming, and acknowledging our helplessness whilst also trusting that every whispered longing for healing and prayer of hope matters. Your words evoke for me the image of the surrendered stance, in which we do nothing but hold open our heart to what is and what may be possible. In this space there is room for our sorrow and unknowing, for all that troubles us about our world...and there is room to sense our connectedness to the deeper, living energy that we can trust.
    Thank you, Karina