Issue #50 / July 2019
Do you pray with you’r family and maybe friends,
hopeing that sometimes ‘someone’ leesen you’r
despered ‘litle’ iner-voice, to get answer
or gidence, ephifany, in this cruel world,
which most of us taket for granted?
GIANELLI, PULA, CROATIA
I love this despairing and soulful question so much. I have put it in verse form and changed the spacing so that it behaves as a poem, rather than a question, as it rises hauntingly from the dark. I hope you don’t mind. I will do my best to answer it.
Firstly, do I pray with my family and friends? The answer is sadly no. My family, and especially my friends, are mostly not the praying types, and I’m not sure they would know who to pray to if they were – apart that is from darling Susie, my wife. Susie prays a lot, I think, but alone, I would say, terribly alone. I do pray myself – and I also meditate; prayer and meditation are different practices but they serve a similar function.
Do I hope someone listens to my prayers – to my inner voice? Well, I don’t know where my prayers go. I don’t know if anyone is listening. However, I still kneel down alone and pray. My prayers mostly revolve around the wellbeing of the ones I love, because I feel, possibly erroneously, that the world aligns itself in such a way that it draws those I send my prayers to closer to me. I feel, without any evidence to suggest that this is true, that the people I pray for benefit from my prayers, as if the energy of my prayers travels along streams of collective goodness that connect us all in some way, in a sort of humanistic cooperation of light and compassion.
Do I get guidance from prayer and meditation? The answer is certainly, yes. After applying my full attention to whatever it is I am praying about – and to whoever it is I am praying to – I feel that I simply know how to proceed in a rightful way; one that causes the least harm to myself and to others. I feel less a victim of the endless self-defeating thoughts that can go on in my mind, and instead I feel a quietness and clarity of thought.
Is this world cruel? I don’t think so. I think this world is indifferent and indifference is not cruelty. What connects me to you, Gianelli, and you to every other sentient being in the universe, is that the universe, simply does not care about us; it does not act with malice or desire to harm us – it is simply unaffected by our condition. If one acknowledges this state of affairs, then it sets up a situation that allows us to make a simple choice – either we respond to the indifference of the universe with self-pity and narcissism – as if the world has in some way personally betrayed us – and live our lives in a cynical, pessimistic and self-serving manner; or we stand tall, set our eyes clearly upon this unfeeling universe and love it all the same – even though, or especially because, it doesn’t love us. This act of cosmic defiance, of subversive optimism, of unconditional and insubordinate love, is the greatest act of human beauty we can perform. To stand before this great, blank, heartless cosmic event and say: ‘We believe in you’. ‘We love you’. ‘We care for you’. This is the definition of grace, Gianelli, and this is the epiphany you speak of. We create our own divinity, our own Godliness, through our ferocious need. We yearn the heavens awake, and if we are quiet, in prayer or in meditation, sometimes we can feel the heavens stirring, breathing our fragile and reckless love back through us.
Thank you for your question.