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Thursday, February 8, 2018

I will not pray unless I want to

“God does not require that we be successful 
only that we be faithful.” 
― Mother Teresa

I am not Catholic, but I have been praying the rosary and the Liturgy of the Hours for a few days now. I feel the need to pray.

Prayer for me is made of worship, and of self-sacrifice. I offer up my body and soul in prayer. I offer my time and my focus. I am focused on God; my love and longing for God, which has been so great all my life.

I remember when I was a girl, and standing in the street near my house, and asking myself: what do I want to be when I grow up? My answer was either a nun or a Playboy centerfold! I do not see these as being all that far apart. They both celebrate life and the source of that life.

Still, I thought. That must be why I have a huge scar on my stomach, God wants me to be a nun instead.

Later, when I found out Mormons do not have nuns, I was not devastated--but it was close.

As an adult, I have found Catholics to be pretty weird. But I am coming to understand them better by borrowing their prayers. They feel an unbroken line from, and are the keepers of the people and events of the Lord's time on earth. They think about these constantly, in rosary prayers to Mary and others, in the Stations of the Cross, in their Mass, and in their religious peoples' lives, their activities, the symbolism of their habits and the structure of their days.

I am trying prayer in a specific way. I do not pray unless I want to. A feeling of wanting to pray comes up naturally. No desire--no pray. Also, if I lose interest in the middle of praying, (which does happen occasionally), I choose to stop praying.

Today, I felt strongly that I didn't want to pray. I thought everything to do with praying was more than painful, a sort of jerking around in my collapsed, depressed state.

"I will not pray unless I want to. Even if I don't pray ever again."

The thought I might stop made me sad. I found myself clicking on "nun links" that now come up on my YouTube side bar. I began to feel the desire again, to pray.

Praying is a way to get around the part of me that wants to use control of my mind and feelings to "get somewhere," spiritually or otherwise. 

I have been seriously and continuously contemplating how to move forward in my sadhana--and to what end--for months now. I tried a lot of things, and mostly accomplished a bunch of trying. My life goes in a big circle. Everything I'm doing now will become the opposite eventually. When I try to do it, I get in the way of grace. I have to step back. 

Wrestling myself to the floor at 5am is not me, never will be. The life of a nun is not for me. Which is hard because I long so much for a completely spiritual life. I don't feel that my current life fulfils that purpose in me. I am still learning.

After I pray The Office and The Hours, and the Crown Rosary or daily rosary, my body has a serene feeling of energy all in-line and in a gentle, persistent flow. I feel lighter, my mind and ego at rest. 

"I feel that my karmas, my pain, my despair, all of it is dissolving in the sweet attitude and daily results of prayer."

In the question I have been asking over and over, should I go through or around my obstacles, I have always returned to this answer: go around. I'll never wrestle that mess to the ground. Or if I do, I'll only keep it down for two seconds. It's all an illusion. Why sacrifice everything to fighting an illusion?

I think I have found the answer. I offer my prayer, including the results. If I can desire to pray, and then pray, I create the shakti in my being that dissolves all that has burdened me, and chained me to the vagaries of the world around me.

And so, I desire very much to be freed, and also to be continuously apart from the world. God is what matters to me.

After I pray, I'm at a loss of what to do. Everything else seems course, and destined to pull my lovely state back into illusion and pain. I don't think I can pray all the time. Just as sure as the desire to pray will come along, the desire to stop praying will come as well. I'm not going to fight it out with this part of me. Making myself do something is sure to eradicate any possibility of doing it at all. I'm just that way.

Meanwhile, I do continue to repeat the mantra silently, and I am trying out experiencing this as worship, in addition to my main experience as identification and purification. It's interesting to me that this feels too intimate! When I think of God, I no longer think of God as "inside" or "outside" of me. I guess there's no way to worship God without worshiping myself. Which is the point of the mantra in any case.

"My discipline is to only do it when I want to!"

As Mother Teresa said, "God does not require that we be successful, only that we be faithful." The idea of being faithful thrills me. It frees me from the content. If I prayed, or not, if I felt like praying or not. These dark waters would suck me down right away. I go around them! If only I can be faithful, and pray when I desire to pray, today. Who knows about tomorrow.

So, today I did not feel like praying. I was sad. "It's all over," I thought. "Like it always is." I have been wrestling with this off and on my whole life.

As I say, I started clicking on "nun links" that were coming up in my YouTube sidebar, since I've been surfing around looking for prayers. And I found that watching just one of these videos brought up all of my desire to pray, and to live a life that is based upon what matters, which is God.

It's part and parcel of the thoughts of a young girl who found that the things that mattered to me were not reflected in the world around me.

Finding my place in the world has been the real struggle of my entire life. I wish that I could be a nun. Maybe I can be, after all. A convent of one.

At least for today.

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