Perhaps this is all that prayer is

Swanage Bay before a storm

Somehow, I feel, each one of us must find a way to know God in life as we undoubtedly shall in death, even though that knowing will often feel like death to the selfish self. In the silence, God draws near to us, and we do recognise that presence, that irresistible Light. Surely this direct experience, impossible though it may be to describe, is the very heart of the Quaker way.

I believe that we are all, all things, all beings, connected and mutually dependent, bound inevitably together in a web of such complex subtlety as to be quite beyond human deciphering. It seems, in Buddhist experience as in Christian, that it is possible to so surrender to God, to the Ground of Being,  that we become vitally conscious of this web of mutual dependencies and conditions. As we do so our hearts will be broken by all that is suffered by other sentient beings.

Our love, our surrender, our acceptance of that suffering in our own hearts, seems somehow to heal and absorb that pain, helping those for whom we find ourselves weeping towards God themselves. Perhaps this is all that prayer is. We become channels to the immeasurable mercy of God, the love that holds the universe, and who knows what others, in the palm of its pierced hand, and in doing so we are pierced ourselves.

(Photo: Mike Farley)

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