Spiritual Thought of the Week
"A person will worship something, have no doubt about that. We may think our tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts, but it will out. That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshiping we are becoming.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
A man came to the Prophet and said, ‘O Messenger of God! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship? The Prophet said: Your mother. The man said, ‘Then who?' The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man further asked, ‘Then who?' The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man asked again, ‘Then who?' The Prophet said: Then your father. (Bukhari, Muslim).
“Let Us Pray”
Do these words make you a little uncomfortable? Do they feel too weighty or inauthentic or incomprehensible rather than at ease? If so, try expanding your sense of what prayer means. Try out some different ways of praying, including sitting quietly, and simply listening. For something even more unconventional, though, how about Doodle Prayer?
For Doodle Prayer, choose a word that helps you connect with or visualize what is holy or beyond/within you. It may be God, or Emptiness, or Love, or Truth, or Nothingness, Living Waters, or it may even be, as it was for me this morning, Blue Hyacinth. Write or print this word in big letters on a sheet of paper. Choose markers, colored pencils, or pen and pencils and doodle in, around and through your chosen holy word.
When your are done doodling, say, “Amen”. And you have prayed.
A STORY ABOUT STORIES
When the founder of modern Hasidism, the Baal Shem Tov, saw misfortune threatening the Jews, it was his custom to go into a certain part of the forest to meditate. There he would light a special fire, say a special prayer, and the trouble would be averted.
Later, when his disciple, the Rabbi Maggid of Mezritch, had occasion for the same reason to intercede with heaven, he would go to the same place in the forest and say: "Master of the Universe, listen! I cannot light the fire, but I know the place and I can say the prayer." And it was enough.
Still later, Rabbi Moshe-Leib of Sasov, in order to save the Jewish people, would go into the forest and say: "I cannot light the fire, I do not know the prayer, but I know the place." And it was enough.
Then it fell to Rabbi Israel of Rizhyn to overcome misfortune. Sitting in his house, his head in his hands, he spoke to God: "I am unable to light the fire and I do not know the prayer; I cannot even find the place in the forest. All I can do is tell the story, and this must be enough." And it was enough.