Never Too Busy to Pray
Yesterday we were balancing inner and outer activity. Today we begin the month exploring what distracts us from this balance. Martin Luther is famously quoted as saying: ‘I’m too busy not to pray’, which is akin to the Zen saying ‘If you’re too busy to meditate for thirty minutes you should meditate for an hour’. Both point to the ease with which the demands of everyday life keep us from turning within, alongside the importance of doing so. An importance which increases commensurate to our perceived lack of time for it…
Life can be so very frantic these days. I know my weeks often feel like I’m shot out of a canon on Monday morning and spend the next five days flying through the air until I finally come to an exhausted rest on Friday evening. The weekend is spent being bundled back into the canon ready for a repeat performance the following week!! But that’s just me and you may well be more balanced than I am!
However, wherever we find ourselves on this continuum of inner and outer activity, today we really need to consider what’s truly keeping us from stillness. Is it that there really is so much to do or are we actually embracing the belief that spiritual enquiry is an ‘add-on’ to our day, nice if we can fit it in, but really an added extra that we’ll just have to do without when there’s too much else going on. Or perhaps we profess a commitment to this path of awakening whilst willfully living a life of unthinking reaction to the external demands and dictates of the world around us?
It is for each of us to find our own answer to these questions. There may be as many things keeping us from engagement with our inner truth as there are people on the planet. But whatever it is that gets in the way, today we need to identify it, name it and commit to adjusting the balance in some way. It doesn’t have to be some huge gesture. I’m not suggesting we should give up our job and join a monastery or go on a six month intensive retreat. But everyone can find a few minutes in their day to dedicate to the Divine, to truth, to the inner silence in which all the answers we will ever need reside.
It might be a matter of changing our reading material on the commute to work, to something that nourishes our soul and not just our mind. Or perhaps changing our lunch-break behaviour and finding a place of quiet where we can sit doing nothing for ten minutes a day. Perhaps we could turn off the TV earlier, or turn it on later, and just spend a few minutes each evening reflecting on the day just gone, seeking messages from within. It may be that doing something physical – dancing, or running – helps us connect with that infinite space inside of us where the mind stops and the heart takes over.
Whatever works to reconnect us with our inner knowing, the still heart within, we need to make it an increasingly important part of the day, not an add-on when we’ve found a couple of minutes to spare. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ formula for this, there is only what works for each one of us: our own personal doorway into stillness, out of which insight, peace and wisdom can arise.
Here’s wishing everyone peace, today and every day.