Friday, April 8, 2011

What I got out of today

I just realized I've been praying Psalm 103 all day.  I feel as if I learned something I thought I already knew... that there is a mystery to prayer, as if there should be a kind of involuntary method to it.  Like the Jesus Prayer, in that if we practice it enough, ideally we will eventually enter into ceaseless prayer which requires no conscious thought, like the pilgrim.  This sounds simple, but as a concept it is difficult to put into practice, as it requires more than just logical intent.  Like today... it seems merely circumstantial that I had Psalm 103 in my head all day, but it filled me with joy constantly and never stopped.  It wasn't voluntary... it was just there.  The practice of the Jesus Prayer is meant to fill us with a similar experience, I think.  It's that mystery, the presence of prayer with substance, and not just the repetition of words.  I prayed involuntarily all day.  Not that it was against my will... I just wasn't conscious of a voluntary action of prayer.  But I was praying nonetheless, and I felt joy countless times and didn't even realize the real reason why.  It's hard to explain, because I can feel joy by hearing a secular song in my head all day... and in a way, I think that's also similar to prayer.  It's a hard concept to grasp, and I don't think it's completely possible... because while we're here on this earth, life is a constant struggle and mystery.  There is no point where we can say, "I did it!  I made it!  I got here, and I'm successful, and I'm perfect!  I'm one with God, and my struggle is over!"  No, it isn't like that.  The struggle is continuous, and even dangerous in that we can become complacent when and if we achieve a measure of success in our striving for asceticism.  We can succeed, and fail, and succeed again, and fail again, and succeed again.  And fail again.  It doesn't end, I think, until we are standing before God with our souls laid bare.


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