I hope this post still counts as day 5 of #NaBloPoMo , “Life happened”, which I think will soon ebcome an overused and often occurring phrase to describe that feeling of knowing what you have to do, making time for it or rather thinking you have. Then things inevitably lead to things. Feelings bury other feelings. Intentions are married with expectations and after all that.. all you are left with is the crippling knowledge that you haven’t done as much as you set out to do.
In the past, I probably would’ve scurried away and hid. Maybe until I got called up and said sorry and explained Ev-errryyything that occurred. But for now and (hopefully) always – Life happened.
I want to use this post to change up my format a little. It’s just a general post to pose a few questions and hopefully share my thoughts. I want to talk about life, breathing and prayer. Ultimately Prayer.
So as it’s the early hours of Friday morning here in UK. I finally resolved and read my first prayer since being back in my hometown. During praying, my mind travelled to my childhood. I consciously felt myself unpicking and rehashing old learnt knowledges. Past lessons. People’s comments and instructions or how to sit, how far I should bow my head. What way my feet should point. I also felt myself swipe away. Trying to push through all these memories and additional fluff for want of a better word. Stuff that leads me to Angst Central.
To clarify I am a Muslim. A young Muslim women, who is fast becoming an old one. I love the focus of individual connection to God, whilst actively maintaining a cohesive community. This is how I read and respond to my religion Islam. For me all these things are really linked, yes I know the label ascribed to my religious community is being bandied around for all sorts of reasons and believe me *I WILL* go into addressing that in the near future. But first, life is a fleeting thing, one in which we are all constantly praying. Even those amongst us so adverse to it. Those who refuse.
I think we all pray on some level. Whether its over a cup of tea. Whilst your having a cigarette or on a walk through some beautiful part of the world. Even if it’s when your laying down next to a loved one. Even when your sweaty as hell in some smelly gym. It’s the breath I think that is most important. The breath and the hope. Moments like those are moments that I have had. As someone who goes through the ritualistic motions very rarely from time to time, but has always felt connected to my God Allah in other moments of life. Particularly during long walks. So, these are all time when you attempt to clear your mind. Where your breath is generally more relaxed. You are at one in your thoughts, in your mind and with your place in your world as it is – and how you wish to see it.
This is the power of prayer.
The gratitude you can have for everything good and bad that has gone before. The thanks you have for all the people you have met, who have influenced you or helped you. For the places you have visited. For the lessons learnt. For the strength you feel coarsing through you in varying degrees of confidence for still being there. For still carrying on.
The faith that it will get better. That something will occur. Someone might intervene or help. Or that you will do better. You will work hard and push through all the stuff that is happening at that moment, to have made you so contemplative. In your thoughts you allow yourself to play with scenarios, to imagine and to put some small part of yourself into a mesh that is bigger than yourself. Whether it is ultimately God, in any form or whether it is in something else. It is here that the power of your prayer takes form. Where it becomes something bigger than even you, yet still so attached to you that you come out of this prayer feeling elated. Lightened. Blissfully clear.
Breathe. You are back in the world again. You’ve taken that moment to space yourself out. To add you power to something else and now you see everything just that little fraction clearer. Life looks a little more complete. A little less as an unfinished puzzle. You allowed yourself a momentary escape but now you’re back a more enlightened being.
To pray is to learn to breathe and to have breath is the reason to pray.
Simple as that really. Once you unpick the years of bad lessons, telling offs and unhelpful tips. Not to end on a down note but.. (Also I feel like I’ve just slipped into a prayerful daydream just now also where I am so sure I typed a load more, far better words!)
But anyway I think my relationship to prayer and to my spirituality may have been a thousand times better. Indeed my relationship to anything. If I was given an account of how and why we do actions like prayer. What are the feelings it gives people? Why are they doing it? I mean is it really only to have a “I’ve been good sticker” or a notch of good against some other form of bad you may have committed?
For me my belief in prayer isn’t that. I don’t talk about my spirituality enough, but if it could help another person similar to myself. A young or old person, who has a tenuous relationship to Faith, then I hope this fragmented and stripped down account is worth it.
Later I also want to talk about timelines and being at one with your place in the world. This line I hope to leave as a (self)reminder.