Okay. There’s lots of different kinds of prayer. One is the stupid kind where someone says I’ll pray for you because they’re judging hating and offering to work their stupid whisper magic to make you be more like them and we all know those people are obviously awful.
Then there’s the people who say they are praying for things because they feel like they should say something and it’s kind of like saying bless you after a sneeze. No snot is being actually consecrated. People just want to say something safe and kind.
Then there’s people who use the word pray in the same way as feel. It’s their way of saying, I’ll feel something for you. I’ll think about you later today and won’t just forget. What happened to you has impacted me and I’ll take time to meditate on the meaning of it.
Another thing about prayer is that it doesn’t necessarily exclude action, donating money, organizing help for others or making personal changes. In fact, sometimes the focus and reflection helps some people find the emotional clarity that lets them access thoughtful, creative responses.
In conclusion, shut up Ricky Gervais.
i’ve learned not to worry when someone says “i’ll pray for you” and instead say “thank you” and mean it.
all i am looking for
is the places where the stories fit together
where we listen to each other and realize
that we share one world
share our human natures
and realize that terrible things have happened
and beautiful ones too
and that we all have responsibilities to setting things right.
i’m looking for the places where beauty is present in light and in darkness
seen or just felt, but always believed in.
experienced, cherished, shared.
Excerpt from The Sacred Art of Fasting: Preparing to Practice by Thomas Ryan
Fast with Your Eyes
• Watch less TV and video; reflect more on your life through keeping a journal.
• Become informed about the causes of hunger in the world.
Fast with Your Ears
• Listen less to the radio, CDs, cassettes; listen more to your own inner heart and spirit.
• Be attentive to the words of others.
Fast with Your Mouth
• Take just one helping of the food that is served.
• Eat fewer sweets and processed foods, but appreciate more simple food and drink like water and good bread.
Fast with Your Hands
• Back off from things that agitate you.
• Take time to just sit and reflect, to rest and observe.
• Share from your own goods with those who have less.
Fast with Your Feet
• Become more attuned to the modern compulsion to be always on the go; resist the impulse.
• Offer yourself a daily quiet half-hour of reading that nourishes your spirit.
• Learn quiet sitting in meditation.
• Make more time to welcome others to your home.
Fast with Your Body
• Attach less importance to external fashion and makeup.
• Reclaim your natural hair and skin color.
• When eating, practice stopping when you’ve had enough, rather than continuing to eat until you feel full.
Fast from Anger, Resentment, Bitterness
• Get to the bottom of why you’re angry or resentful: What’s the hidden demand underneath?
• Do the hard work of talking it through with the other, of expressing clearly what it is you are asking for.
Fast from Judging Others
• Unhook from conversations in which others are being disparaged, or contribute something positive to balance the negative things that are being said.
Fast from Complaining
• When you’re feeling inclined to complain, stop and look at all you are blessed with and give thanks instead.
Fast from the Presence of Your Children
• When you feel their absence, find some meaning in the emptiness and the silence.
• Choose life for them by supporting them graciously as they strike out to make their own marks in the world.
• Choose life for yourself by turning to and embracing new possibilities for living, growing, and loving.
Fast from Glossing Over Your Losses Too Quickly
• Allow yourself to feel the emptiness, the ache, the absence.
• Take the time to do the inner work of grieving.
• Resist the quick but superficial emotional fix, the easy fill-in.
• Risk listening in the silence to the soft voice of inner wisdom.
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips. Kahlil Gibran (via nezua)
Simone Weil. On this quote, Stephen Mitchell made this comment:
“I love that. I think that could be as close as someone can get to a wonderful definition of prayer. In that sense, prayer has nothing spiritual or religious about it. A mathematician working at a problem or a little kid trying to pick out scales on the piano is a person at prayer. She’s not saying prayer is absolute unmixed attention; it’s the other way. The attention itself is the quality that she wants to call prayer. So whatever context you’re putting it in, whether it’s inside a church or inside a toy box, that’s the quality that is the sacred one.”
(Ah! Thank you, dhammanovice)
remember, Allah is Merciful, Kind, Beautiful, and loves you no matter if you are straight or gay or trans.
Allah is Kind and Merciful. My Lord does not punish anyone for being gay or trans or bisexual or queer. My Lord does not punish people for not being “Islamic” enough or praying 5 times a day or even drinking alcohol.
If that’s the kind of God who will punish people for things like this, then I refuse to worship Her. But I know She is Kind and Merciful.
“If you take one step toward Allah, Allah will take a thousand steps toward you.” (Hadith)
Religious thinking is not scientific thinking. Dogma and fundamentalism are easy enemies for any secular humanist. However, it should be pointed out that dogma and fundamentalism are not easy allies for religion. And spirituality, not necessarily religious in the traditional sense of the word, is so very much human, and I am one of those who think that spirituality can spring forth and be stronger with science. This is a wonderful quote.
Allah & Perfection.
You know what Allah really deemed perfect? Giving a shit.
That’s right. Giving a shit is what is perfect. Giving a shit entails taking care of thy neighbor, giving charity, doing good deeds.
That’s what makes one good in the eyes of Allah.
It’s ALSO not about using your hours volunteering in the soup kitchen as some excuse to treat family members or oppress other people outside of said good deed. Sure you donate to some poor kids in the middle of West Africa, but I don’t see you actively arguing against diamond industry or capitalism and colonization that got them there in the first place.
I am pretty damn sure when I meet Allah he’s not going to be asking who I was fucking, but taking a damn hard look at the fact that I have been through adversity and still give a shit about others in the same or different circumstances.
I GET REALLY IRRITATED BY HOW MUCH I CARE. BUT I WILL FUCKING CONTINUE TO DO SO.