A Prayer(Barbra Bleecker shared this prayer during a Zoom gathering that was held with friends from the North East Islamic Community Center)
In the Quaker tradition our prayers rise out of the silence.
We enter into this silence in receptivity, with expectation, expecting the still small voice of the divine to utter itself. Expecting to receive a message from Source or at the least to feel the presence of G-d.
I believe it is a time in the midst of isolation, depression, bewilderment and grief … in this parenthesis of eternity that we are being called to “be still and know.”
It is from this deep silence that hope arises…
It is from this deep silence that peace can arise
It is from this deep silence that Unity can arise
It is from this deep silence that indeed joy may arise It is from this silence that the presence manifests Bringing us into the realization of Oneness…with G-d Oneness with all beings.
In truth there is no separation …
The light, ‘that divine spark’, that was before Abraham The divine spark that lighteth every being that comes into manifestation
Unites us in ONENESS
After any true initiating experience, we know that we are a part of a much bigger whole. Life is not about us, but we are about life. We are not our own. We are an instance of a universal and even eternal pattern. Life is living itself in us. We have been substituting the part for the whole! This message is an earthquake in the brain, a hurricane in the heart.
Accepting that our lives are not about us is a Copernican revolution of the mind, and it is just as hard for each individual today as it was for earthbound humans when they discovered that our planet was not the center of the universe. It takes a major and monumental shift in consciousness, and it is always given and received with major difficulty. It comes as an epiphany, as pure grace and deliverance, and never as logic or necessary conclusion.
Understanding that our lives are not about us is the connection point with everything else. It lowers the mountains and fills in the valleys that we have created, as we gradually recognize that the myriad forms of life in the universe are merely parts of the one life that most of us call God. After such a discovery, we are grateful to be a part—and only a part! We do not have to figure it all out, straighten it all out, or even do it perfectly by ourselves. We do not have to be God. It is an enormous weight off our backs. All we have to do is participate!
After this epiphany, things like praise, gratitude, and compassion come naturally—like breath. True spirituality is not taught; it is caught once our sails have been unfurled to the Spirit. Henceforth our very motivation and momentum for the journey toward holiness and wholeness is immense gratitude for already having it!
I am convinced that the reason Christians have misunderstood many of Jesus’ teachings is because we did not understand his pedagogy. Jesus’ way of education was intended to situate his followers to a larger life, which he called his “Father,” or what we might call today God, the Real, or Life. When we could not make clear dogma or moral codes out of Jesus’ teaching, many Christians simply abandoned it in any meaningful sense. For this reason, the Sermon on the Mount—the essence of Jesus’ teaching—seems to be the least quoted by Christians. We sought a prize of later salvation, instead of the freedom of present simplicity.
My life is not about me. It is about God. It is about a willing participation in a larger mystery. At this time, we do this by not rejecting or running from what is happening but by accepting our current situation and asking God to be with us in it. Paul of Tarsus said it well: “The only thing that finally counts is not what human beings want or try to do, but the mercy of God” (Romans 9:16). Our lives are about allowing life to “be done unto us,” which is Mary’s prayer at the beginning and Jesus’ prayer at the end.
May I be …
…bold enough to use my voice, brave enough to listen to my heart, and strong enough to live the life I have imagined.