I don’t want to talk in favor of prayer. I’m at best what you could call a spectacularly secular spirit. I am a post Judeo-Christian, a flower child of the universe . . . and a powder puff of the possible it turns out . . . .
I want to be the man for meditation! For visualization! For mental technologies not yet dreamed of! Prayer? Not so much.
Yet, because of its efficacy in my life, I’ve become the reluctant advocate of prayer. Damnit, prayer worked. Again and again. This week, even. So I must be truthful even though it goes against my new-found religion of no religion.
The problem with prayer is that it’s too religious — I choked on religion as a youngster. So I cast off religion and its garb.
Oh, I could shout Yes to the Cosmic One. I could dance naked — and have — inebriated by a crashing, fusing crescendo of the inner and the outer. I could pluck merrily on my soul harp while lost in meditative reverie . . . . aargh, but this prayer stuff . . . it reeked of old-time religion, and I’d moved away from that.
Or so I imagined.
What is prayer but a clarification. Urgent prayer is about pain, and resolving it. Celebratory prayer is jubilance cast large. In prayer we clarify our desires. In prayer we hone in on who we truly are — even more on who we aspire to become.
Is it possible to pray without a religion? Yes! Emphatically, yes. I do it all the time.
There is a propulsive force to prayer, akin to a jet engine funneling air — you know that ungraspable, unseen essence all around us — into a force so propulsive it boggles the brain as to how it can hurl mass and tonnage of metal into the heavens.
Prayer is like that. I’ve been so low to the ground all I can taste is dirt, and after prayer, oftentimes repeated prayer, I find myself aloft, all my tonnage, all the weight of my life now seemingly weightless . . . .