Last night, I did an incredible thing. I actually prayed.
After I wrote my post, I fell instantly and outrageously asleep. I slept like a sleeping thing until my phone rang: beloved bf wishing me good night. It was around 11:30, I think. After that, there was no sleep for hours. I was AWAKE. I was as instantly and outrageously awake as I had been asleep only minutes before.
So I got on the computer, I did some writing, sent some emails, tried to sleep. No luck. I got up and read the entire section on India in "Eat, Pray, Love," a book that speaks to me on some very deep levels, most of which are obvious and annoying and I'm so jealous that she did it first and that what I'm doing now is so similar, just without the exotic locations and the cash in hand. But I digress. The section on India is so steeped in prayer, and when I read it, I feel a longing for prayer that is very similar to a longing for sex. And yet I find it so hard to let myself just pray.
Not always. Sometimes in my life I have had a fairly regular and consistent prayer practice, but lately, not so much. But last night, weary and tired at 2:30 in the morning, all I wanted to do was sleep, and all I wanted to do was pray. So, assuming the appropriate supplicant-like position - all stretched out lengthwise like a cat and pressing my belly up against the cool, hard wall next to my bed and burrowing my face into my pillows, I prayed.
In "Eat, Pray, Love," she makes the analogy that prayer and meditation are the 2 sides of the conversation with God: prayer is when you talk, and meditation is when you listen. I really like that, but I get frustrated with that desire for immediacy - the wait that is necessary after you've spoken to God (usually). So the image I conjure builds in the space for the wait. God is my Waiter, I shall not want.
Yesterday, BF and I had dinner at the Lake. A typical kind of grease-and-beer joint that springs up at every Lake, Beach, Shore and Pier in America, with an outdoor seating area overlooking said body of water, ducks and seagulls fighting for the scraps of food that the children don't want (why eat it when it's so much more fun to throw to the ducks?). It was a cloudy, coolish evening, and early in the season, and a season riddled with drought, so the "floating" restaurant was perhaps actually touching ground, sadly. Anyway, it wasn't crowded, it wasn't loud, and they had a veggie burger on the menu. Our handsome young waiter's name was Jeff, and it was his pleasure to serve us.
In my exhausted state, hot belly against cool wall, I went again to that restaurant in my mind, with my lovely BF by my side, and God-as-Jeff came up to the table and asked me what I would like. God-as-Jeff assured me that I could have whatever I wanted; special orders don't upset us. So I began to "order" my prayer. First, I asked to simply be able to go to sleep, explaining that I was tired and had had a long day. "Not a problem," God told me. "Is there anything else you'd like tonight?" And there was, actually. I asked for "peace in the situation," trying to wrap a few simple and appropriate words around the complex and saddening upheaval my life has taken these past 10 days. "Sounds good, " said God. "Let me talk to the chef about that one. Anything else?" "A few more things. I want only to eat my good diet from now on. Can you help me with that?" At this point, words were becoming more complex and hard to form, and I was getting lost in pictures, but God-as-Jeff once again gave me his assurances, and once again asked if there was anything else I would like. There was something else, and I mentally began a long explanation of what that was before realizing that I wasn't making any sense to myself, that I was actually falling asleep! I glanced over and saw that God-as-Jeff was still standing politely at the end of the table, pad in hand, smiling sweetly, and waiting. "Thank You so much," I mumbled. "That will be all. You've been very helpful."
When I woke up this morning, I was so tickled at how well that had worked, I decided to try it again, only this time I took myself to one of my favorite raw food restaurants, Juliano's Raw in Santa Monica, and Juliano himself was my Waiter. I ordered a lifetime of eating 80-10-10 Raw (see my other blog for more on that) and I asked for guidance in my yoga practice. He bowed to me graciously and set off to the kitchen to attend to my wishes.
By asking for my prayers as simply as if I was ordering off a menu, it gives me, mentally, such a tremendous healing space to allow for the "fruits" of the prayer, so to speak, to be delivered. I trust that God-as-my-Waiter has every intention of providing me with as close to my ordered request as possible, so it helps to be specific, which also helps to hone the request down to its most basic and essential components. It also reminds me to be polite and thankful, as this incarnation of God is here to help me, and it's very important to share my tremendous gratitude.
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