So here are the praying hands which I was avoiding in the first part of this prayer series.
As I thought back over my reticence to portray prayer in any traditional way, I realized I was denying access to many people, a tenet which would never suit PATH Ministries. Since I was raised Episcopalian, and may have stayed Episcopalian if they had ordained women in those days--or at least given us some hope--I have to admit, there is a signal to the brain from the physical body when we kneel and fold our hands that something sacred is about to occur. Whatever your prayer position, traditional or not, it will become that signal to your whole self that it's time to pray.
Many people like to meditate or focus on a mantra or a lit candle or mandala as a way of centering themselves. I can still remember when I was a young girl growing up in a turbulent family that I would go to my room, pull the covers up over my head, and say the Lord's Prayer over and over to block out the yelling and screaming that was so upsetting to me. I found my comfort in the repetition of a familiar prayer; it somehow connected me with a power bigger than myself that could absorb the anger and rage in my household, and I felt safer.
As a writer, I am working on a book on sensory meditation, the introduction to which you can read on the meditation page on this website. As the book unfolds through me (and that is how it is happening), I am learning more and more ways to let my body be not only a signal but also a gatekeeper and welcoming committee to a state of prayer consciousness. Rather than trying to ignore all distractions incoming from my senses, I am using my senses to direct and enhance my prayer and meditation. It seems more in a natural flow, and I'll tell you more about it later as it grows.
Sometimes, my prayer is a song which I allow to sing through me. Perhaps it is a known chant, or often it is just a word or phrase that becomes my mantra and melody...sort of a song of my soul. It beats running around with "I wish I were an Oscar Meyer weiner," from TV circulating through my head!
Whatever brings you to that awareness, to that interface with the Divine in you and in the world, is prayer for me. When I reach the point where I feel suspended in time and space in a consciousness of pure love, I try to stay there for as long as it is possible. I almost hold my breath, for fear it will leave or I will fail to maintain it. I suspect that true enlightenment is being able to walk in that Presence at will, or even perhaps all the time. In the meantime, there is that potential and possibility of frequent visits to this peaceful, loving land of prayer.
Divine Presence, I give thanks for my growing awareness that you are with me and accessible at all times as I remember to turn unfailingly to You.