Tuesday, March 11, 2014

What Passes Now For Prayer

Stepping outside with the dog - just before 4 a.m. - I pause to consider how soft the air is, as if April were visiting with March's blessing. Clouds float quickly overhead, blotting and revealing stars, and I step carefully to the road, sensitive to ice. My Father is with me, at my Mother's behest, and together we walk into the dense blessings of Her mystery.

Or so I say - or think - being happy and tired and grateful at once. The dog stays close as more and more she does, though where the road dips she bolted into forest after what I cannot say. At last one perceives the movement of which we are all composed - and all composing - and understands it requires neither defense nor explanation.

Though I do slip - without entirely falling - a sort of graceful slide really - where the hill is steepest, laughing hard which must have given somnolent owls pause. Trees creak and moan and I picture Jesus perched in the interstice of wintry limbs, watching me pass, as grateful as any letter when at last the envelope opens. Coming home I said aloud "thank you" and again "thank you."

And paused to hear the sifting hush of northern winds in distant pines rendered contrapuntal by snow melting - even in darkness - off the house eaves. Oh I need nothing now but this! Or that and this, really.

Aurobindo again, here paraphrased: the divine inclines towards us as we extend towards it. Just before I went inside an owl hollered from the other side of Route 112, out past Watts Brook, where days ago I spied moose tracks and learned - again - I am only alone when I insist on alone. Tea, candle light, the old punchy zafu and what passes now for prayer after the real prayer passes.

When at last we accept there is no more learning - only application - the whole of Creation bends to make it so. All effort is a form of resistance. Come home to me when you are ready, and learn that we never parted.

Rooster, poet, storm-fed crow. Emily Dickinson - sister, master, most intimate of cartographers - abounds and abets, again.


  1. Good Morning Sean,

    for some reason, reading this:
    "the divine inclines towards us as we extend towards it"

    brought to mind this line from Life of Pi:
    "...take two steps toward God and God runs to you."

    the former sounds so reassuringly gentle, while the latter makes me sense a sort of loving earnestness...

    Both feel good... :)
    Wishing you that kind of day.

  2. I am most familiar with it as a Hadith Qudsi in Islam: "O My servant! If you take one step toward Me, I take ten toward you." But it occurs in the New Testament as well (James 4:8): "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you."

    The precise Aurobindo quote: "The passionate aspiration of man upward to the Divine has not been sufficiently related to the descending movement of the Divine leaning downward to embrace eternally its manifestation. Its meaning in Matter has not been so well understood as Its truth in Spirit."

    It reminds me of Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam, the two fingers reaching out towards one another and meeting between Heaven and earth.

    You have a good day too . . .

  3. Ah, yes, that image has threaded its way through my life for more than 30 years ... always turning up again as a reminder.

    I suppose if I were to ask "What is it for?" I would answer differently than I would have even a few short years ago.

    Or maybe not... :)