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Thursday, December 15, 2005

remembering god

In my own case, I know that when I remember to talk to God, my life generally goes better. My own practice is to talk out loud, commonly in my car (which somebody has referred to as the modern equivalent of a monastic cell). On days I remember to do so, I usually feel more centered, more present, more open, more peaceful, and more appreciative. Yet I can so easily forget. When I go three or four days without "remembering" God (even though I might be thinking about God a lot, as when writing this book), my life has the opposite qualities: less centered, less present, less open, less peaceful, less appreciative. How I can know this and yet sometimes forget to pray remains a puzzle to me.

- Marcus Borg, The God We Never Knew


At 12/16/2005 12:08 AM, Blogger Jacob said...

What puzzles me is that prayer has no discernable effect on my life. I am not more centered, present, peaceful, or anything else when I pray. I don't know why prayer does these things for some people and not others. My inclination is to brush off all mention of God or prayer having any effect whatsoever on others, but I try to give people like yourself the benefit of the doubt. And it is encouraging, in a way, to hear this sort of statement. I'm glad that prayer really works for some people, in whatever way.

At 12/16/2005 11:40 PM, Blogger BruceA said...

Personally, I had to learn how to listen to God before I ever felt comfortable talking to God. That's not to say that God talks to me everytime I pray -- far from it. But if I can get to a point where I can clear my mind of all distractions, I find it much easier to pray. And usually I don't need to say anything at all.

I've found that contemplative prayer works better for me than the more popular modern forms of prayer. If I can make that connection with God for even a little while every day, it makes the rest of the day go much more smoothly. Externally life is still the same, but my reactions are different.

At 12/17/2005 6:26 AM, Blogger Alcuin Bramerton said...

Prayer is breathing

When you breathe
You don't say:
"I will inhale this molecule
Of air here
And that molecule
Of air there,
But under no circumstances
Will I inhale that molecule
Of air over there
On the left
Of the water cooler,
Because that molecule
Of air over there
Is a molecule of neon
And I don't fancy
Inhaling neon
Because neon is an inert gas
And will not contribute positively
To my respiration,
And, anyway,
Neon is used to made flashy red lights
In Las Vegas
Which waste electricity
And therefore
Contribute to the gambling
Of greenhouse gases."

You don't say that.

You would be using
The word "molecule" incorrectly
If you said that.

And here is something else
You don't say.

You don't say:
"I don't want –
In this particular breath –
To inhale that
Particular methane molecule
Six inches above the shredder.
I don't want that
Particular methane molecule
Mixed up with my oxygen,
Thank you very much,
Because that
Particular methane molecule
Came out of the bum of a goat
In New Zealand."

You don't say that.

Only a dumbo would say that,
Or maybe
A dipstick with attitude
Might ventilate
A similar circumlocution,
If pressed.

But you don't say it.

From the goat's point of view,
A statement such as that
Could be perceived as
Unfair discrimination
Between gases,
And bummist to boot.

So you don't say it.

What you do actually say is:
"Don't say anything,
Just breathe.
Just inhale the full,
Of the universe
Without judgement.
Inflate your lungs fully
And accept the fresh air,
The whole lot,
In trust,
And stop being so silly."

That's what you say.

You don't
Say it out loud
And you don't
Articulate it consciously,
But that is what
Your vital being says.

The real you inside
Simply breathes
Without judgement
Because it is that trust
In benevolence
Which sustains
The internal essence
Of your present becoming

You know this intuitively:
Breathing is more
Than an expedient exchange of gases
For physical functioning.

Breathing is prayer;
Just do it.

Switch off your brain,
Cut the crap,
Flush the religious obfuscation
Down the tubes
And do it.

It's the spiritual economy,

At 12/31/2005 10:50 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

What an absolutely beautiful quote. I know that the same is exactly true for me, right down to the car thing. I am so much more peaceful and happier when I actually communicate with the God I was designed to communicate with forever.

And yet when I'm stressed out and mad and confused because I'm not praying, I often don't pray..

A great confusing thing about my life.


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