I appreciate it when someone who has faith in the power of prayer offers to pray for me. And I wish I could offer my own prayers for our world and for all the beings who so clearly need our world to be healthy. If nothing else, I might then experience myself as a vital participant in a greater reality than the small domain in which I ordinarily live. I’m unclear whether it is legitimate to pray for my own salvation, or whether that can only be a consequence of caring for others. However, I already sense that when I am confined within my own narrow circle of concerns, both me and my world do not thrive.
I keep searching for some kind of connection, some kind of understanding. But, searching can feel like travelling through the countryside on a journey where I don’t determine the route taken or who I will meet along the way. I watch people from afar, making judgements: some are beggars, some take what they want; some are cutting their lawns or pushing strollers along the sidewalks. But I have some story about each of them, as if I’m trying to construct a world with enough room in it for me.
Of late, I’ve been noticing that something is always missing in my images of the realm in which I live. I imagine a world made up of the things and people I see passing by, most of whom are strangers. I feel that I am confined to my own small world, unable to significantly influence a larger one that hardly notices me. But, at the same time, I sense a greater realm that is deeply present in everything I experience, even though I continue to feel a separation between me and the environment in which my days keep flowing by.
A persistent feeling that I am exiled from a greater realm, which must have created me and continues to animate my small world, leaves me wondering what I am missing. I can sense that there is a being alive inside me who yearns to communicate with something greater than himself, but most of the time he seems to be talking to his own reflection.
I have a dim intuition that the path to connecting and caring in a deeper, more inclusive way cannot be grounded in a belief that something is fundamentally wrong; rather, it is by appreciating all the ways I feel at home in myself and in this world that I can become more effective and in touch with reality. It is not by rejecting the person I am or the world in which I live, that I can build on what is most positive and hopeful.
I need to remind myself that I have a lot to be grateful for: family and friends, projects that provide me with satisfaction, a body that still moves freely and a mind able to participate in activities and to feel appreciation for others. I have friends with whom I share an understanding of what makes life meaningful. That is my shining “larger world”, and when I ground myself in this realm that understands and welcomes me, providing me with the knowledge that I belong, then I am able to touch what matters most–not just for myself but for all of us. Realizing that I am already at home, I will know how to pray that others can also feel they are welcome and deserving of appreciation, and are free to pursue their values, nourished by the light that makes all this possible.