Prayer as Secular Breath

Saturday 1 June 2013

Sometimes I think that just about everybody in the world would find some point of disagreement with everybody else on who or what God is or whether she/he/they exist at all.  Many people who do not believe in a god simply cannot ~ this is a holy unbelief.  It comes from their hearts breaking too much at the suffering of the world and the seemingly implacable lack of response from any god to that.  Unbelief made holy.

Because of all of this rolling range of difference when it comes to who or what makes up God or a god, you would think that therefore there would probably be just as many differences in opinion on what prayer is.  But I'm not so sure about that.  Regardless of who it's directed to, what drives the prayer seems to be a remarkably short range of things - gratitude, requests for help, requests for renewal, expressions of love.

I don't even think you need to believe in a personal god to pray.  Surely everybody on the planet has prayed at some point. Some see prayer as praying to that higher part of ourselves, the one that acts in our best interests and seems at times to help us respond to the lower part of ourselves, that which will keep us chained in fear.  In this sense, we all pray, and it has nothing at all to do with institutional religion and that whole bullshit arena of power and control.  In this sense it is a beautiful thing that softens my heart towards the world.

"Prayer is the bridge between longing and belonging" - John O'Donohue

Casa Tomada by Rafael Larrea Uribe


  1. Yeah, it is a subject that creates much dissent, strangely enough. And people can get quite heated and defensive about it too.

    I think at some time in their lives, even hardened atheists have (secretly) called to "something out there".

    I don't "subscribe" to any religion. Too fundamental and structured for me.

    But.. I do communicate with the Universe. Perhaps a kind of confirmation through conversation - even if feels one-sided at times :)
    So, some might call that a form of prayer. I don't call it "prayer". I find the connotations limiting, and too much of a conforming nod to the/a church.

    But, it is oddly comforting, this correspondence with the Divine. I do find that answers to questions come from deep within.

    Or, maybe I'm just a crazy old lady talking to myself, heh heh :)

    1. I like to think of it as "something in here" :)

      Hehe, keep on dat talking to yourself, crazy lady :)

      And I agree about the use of that word "prayer". It conjures up almost the opposite of what I mean when I talk of it here. I can't think of what else to call it though. Perhaps meditation is a better word ...

    2. Perhaps it is.
      Meditation is nice. It is a going within. A delving deep.
      I love to be still and find that the answers are "there" if I devote the time to that inner voice - there's that crazy lady thing again, oh no :)

      People can get so reliant on believing what others tell them, that they begin to doubt themselves.... and their own inner voice. We all have it - it's primal.
      Sad, that some lose trust in themselves. Very sad.

    3. Hehe, I reckon maybe it's the opposite to crazy lady :) I totally get ya. That inner voice - some people can hardly hear it at all.

      I often wonder what the world would look like if everyone was tuned into that. It would be a couple of degrees more beautiful than the one we currently have, I reckon, with much less inclination to put up with parasitic bullshit from those at the top levels.

    4. Totally!
      Sometimes, I feel like screaming at people to "stop listening to the F#@king crap you're being force-fed!" Arrrgh.

      Surely, there's a hint of doubt in people when they listen to whatever spiel is coming out of the mouths of the rich/famous/powerful?
      We've all been so conditioned to give over.

      Huh? What's that? whaddaya saying?
      'xcuse me, I'm gettin' an internal memo.....

    5. I can't think of much more that disorientates me than seeing people going around eagerly eating the force-fed crap. It's not even bloody well nutritious. Anyone with a skerrick of creative imagination could come up with better ideas than the shit that is spewed at us from on high. But no worries, we'll just take it and go on with our lives. Blergh.

      Sometimes I feel like I live on a different planet ...

    6. Well, without getting too conspiratorial, people like what they have - the european car, speed boat, second storey house etc. And, they don't want to lose what they have.
      And what they have is bought and owned by the powers that be - insert "power" name here.......

      The powerful elite few have too much control over the masses.

      Time to pray :-)

    7. I soooo agree :)

      Funny, even though I used the word "pray" and "prayer" myself when I wrote this post, the longer it goes on the more I dislike the word until now it feels horribly distasteful to me and doesn't represent at all the experience of it when I do it. Weird :)

    8. Heh heh heh. My evil "work" is done :d

    9. Yes, I feel unduly influenced, like a spineless child in the playground :P

  2. Love that O'Donohue quote! It's interesting that the etymology of 'pray' is ask, entreat, but these days even Christians tend not to focus on that, more on being present, listening. So maybe we do need a new word for it!


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