Pray for Peace

Pray to whomever you kneel down to:
Jesus nailed to his wooden or plastic cross,
his suffering face bent to kiss you,
Buddha still under the bo tree in scorching heat,
Adonai, Allah. Raise your arms to Mary
that she may lay her palm on our brows,
to Shekhina, Queen of Heaven and Earth,
to Inanna in her stripped descent.

Then pray to the bus driver who takes you to work.
On the bus, pray for everyone riding that bus,
for everyone riding buses all over the world.
Drop some silver and pray.

Waiting in line for the movies, for the ATM,
for your latte and croissant, offer your plea.
Make your eating and drinking a supplication.
Make your slicing of carrots a holy act,
each translucent layer of the onion, a deeper prayer.

To Hawk or Wolf, or the Great Whale, pray.
Bow down to terriers and shepherds and Siamese cats.
Fields of artichokes and elegant strawberries.

Make the brushing of your hair
a prayer, every strand its own voice,
singing in the choir on your head.
As you wash your face, the water slipping
through your fingers, a prayer: Water,
softest thing on earth, gentleness
that wears away rock.

Making love, of course, is already prayer.
Skin, and open mouths worshipping that skin,
the fragile cases we are poured into.

If you’re hungry, pray. If you’re tired.
Pray to Gandhi and Dorothy Day.
Shakespeare. Sappho. Sojourner Truth.

When you walk to your car, to the mailbox,
to the video store, let each step
be a prayer that we all keep our legs,
that we do not blow off anyone else’s legs.
Or crush their skulls.
And if you are riding on a bicycle
or a skateboard, in a wheelchair, each revolution
of the wheels a prayer as the earth revolves:
less harm, less harm, less harm.

And as you work, typing with a new manicure,
a tiny palm tree painted on one pearlescent nail
or delivering soda or drawing good blood
into rubber-capped vials, writing on a blackboard
with yellow chalk, twirling pizzas–

With each breath in, take in the faith of those
who have believed when belief seemed foolish,
who persevered. With each breath out, cherish.

Pull weeds for peace, turn over in your sleep for peace,
feed the birds, each shiny seed
that spills onto the earth, another second of peace.
Wash your dishes, call your mother, drink wine.

Shovel leaves or snow or trash from your sidewalk.
Make a path. Fold a photo of a dead child
around your VISA card. Scoop your holy water
from the gutter. Gnaw your crust.
Mumble along like a crazy person, stumbling
your prayer through the streets.
~Ellen Bass

Ellen Bass

A Blessing of Angels

May the Angels in their beauty bless you.
May they turn toward you streams of blessing.

May the Angel of Awakening stir your heart
To come alive to the eternal within you,
To all the invitations that quietly surround you.

May the Angel of Healing turn your wounds
Into sources of refreshment.

May the Angel of the Imagination enable you
To stand on the true thresholds,
At ease with your ambivalence
And drawn in new direction
Through the glow of your contradictions.

May the Angel of Compassion open your eyes
To the unseen suffering around you.

May the Angel of Wildness disturb the places
Where your life is domesticated and safe,
Take you to the territories of true otherness

Where all that is awkward in you
Can fall into its own rhythm.

May the Angel of Eros introduce you
To the beauty of your senses
To celebrate your inheritance
As a temple of the holy spirit.

May the Angel of Justice disturb you
To take the side of the poor and the wronged.

May the Angel of Encouragement confirm you
In worth and self-respect,
That you may live with the dignity
That presides in your soul.

May the Angel of Death arrive only
When your life is complete
And you have brought every given gift
To the threshold where its infinity can shine.

May all the Angels be your sheltering
And joyful guardians.
~John O’Donohue

The Immense Simplicity of Things

Lotus

Bahman Farzad
Lotus Flower

I THANK YOU, MY GOD, for having in a thousand different ways led my eyes to discover the immense simplicity of things. Little by little, through the irresistible development of those yearnings You implanted in me as a child, through the influence of gifted friends who entered my life at certain moments to bring light and strength to my mind, and through the awakening of spirit I owe to successive initiations, gentle and terrible, which you caused me to undergo: through all these, I have been brought to the point where I can no longer see anything, nor any longer breathe, outside the milieu in which all is made One.
~Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
The Hymn of the Universe

Image Courtesy of Bahman Farzad
©Bahman Farzad / lotusflowerimages.com

Right Now

Forget about enlightenment.
Sit down wherever you are and listen to
the wind that is singing in your veins.
Feel the love, the longing and the fear in your bones.

Open your heart to who you are, right now,
not who you would like to be.
Not the saint you’re striving to become.
But the being right here before you,
inside you, around you.
All of you is holy.
You’re already more and less than
whatever you can know.

Breathe out, look in, let go.
~John Welwood

Image courtesy of : The Path of the Mystic

Image and post courtesy of:
The Path of the Mystic

Journey Into Darkness

To go into the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark.  Go without sight
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.
~Wendell Berry

Don’t we all eventually find our way here one time or another? Having lost some essential part of ourselves, we plunge into emptiness. But here’s a secret about the Great Dark: Everything is found here. Nothing is excluded or omitted. It embraces everything equally, just as it is.

A Thousand Pools by Mark Nepo

I am awake. It wasn’t always so.
It may not last for long. So let me
say this while my heart is beating like
a river. This life is more than one can
bear. It’s taken years to learn this, to
feel this, to know this in my bones.
I am not talking about giving up or
persevering. I mean we’re not designed
to bear it in the first place. Anymore
than the sun bears the sky or the wind
bears the thousands of leaves it moves
through. I am awake. This time I stum-
bled to it. I was productive. Some said
on fire. Then I tripped on something
ordinary. Like a pebble in your shoe.
And I fell out of the dance I had
created. The one by which I knew
my worth. I couldn’t get it back. It
depressed me for months. But like a
whale I kept diving down and coming
up. Despite the parting of my dream.
Now I’m awake as I never imagined.
This doesn’t preclude pain or weather
or disappointment. These as well as joy
land in some lake I have carried since
birth. It stills whatever enters without
silencing our heart. Like an endless
pool that clears after a violent rain,
you can see through me. Come.
Look. I am awake.
~Mark Nepo