Nay_ho_tze's Medicine Musings

reaching beyond the illusion

As a former religion teacher to middle school kids, 

i wrangled more than my share of  a let's-stump-the-teacher type students -

 i have fond memories of  a street-smart, Black kid who went by "Ant" -

i'd earned his respect, but his testing me never ended 

(through his questions he became my teacher).

One day he asked me, “How often should we pray?”

i am sure he hoped there was some formula for  a spiritual recipe to salvation ….

pray this many times a day, and you’re good to go!

My immediate response was much more stark:  “Your life should be your prayer.” 1

The idea of prayer is not only about communication  

but also about communion  with one’s Creator –

while communication infers ‘speaking’ 

communion refers to the ‘back and forth’ exchange that happens in the listening ...

and that’s the part folks often forget, that other half of praying is listening

I didn’t realize until I got much older that not all folks 

spend their days listening, and giving thanks -

yet still i don't pray enough (imo), neither am i always 'listening' mindfully,

the goal being to steep in a prayerful frame of mind all the time,

which is what Jesuit children learn life is for:

Ad maiorem Dei gloriam; For the Greater Glory of God

and while I may idealize the ritual of morning prayer, 

that reality is impossible for night owls like me…

by the time I wake up, I hit the floor running, and prayer is an afterthought,

so i take it with me and do it on the run -

then i got lazy and decided to just steep in prayer all the time

that way you don't have to remember or forget to pray ...

it's the only way i know to make my life my prayer

Besides isn’t it just as  prayerful  to sit in a  sunroom overlooking a pasture,

sipping morning coffee,

checking in spiritually with animal neighbours who visit?

To know full well that the present moment is only by Spirit's doing anyway

for truth be told,  if the present moment is indeed all that there is,

then you've got no other choice:   “Your life should be your prayer.”

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1  unbeknownst to me when fencing Ant's query, the Lakota have long spoken the very same answer - 
to quote their great teacher Black Elk: "Every step you take should be a prayer,
and if every step you take is a prayer, then you will always walk 
in a sacred manner." 
But i hadn't yet discovered Black Elk, a fellow catechist, who would become a lifelong teacher,
guiding my assimilation of  irish catholicism with my american indian heritage
coincidentally enough Black Elk and i were introduced by way of a falling book in a Clackamas, OR bookstore -
a number of teachers and messages have come to me this way if truth be told -

It was from Black Elk that i learned the undeniable connections
between my Catholic teachers' esotericism and native american beliefs --
it was he who showed me that the two were separated by joined by a bridge, 
of which he stood on one side of this bridge and i on the other,
and from where we saw the same thing, but from opposite viewpoints that included each other,
and that perspective is everything to be sure -- 

make no mistake: Spirit can and does teach must only be willing to listen. 
it's all in the listening.     --NHT