Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Whisper of Wisdom – Thoughts on Prayer in the Wake of the Boston Marathon Tragedy

I remember as a young girl, my father and I would have discussions about what it means to pray.  My father was a man truly ahead of his time.  An otherwise left brained pragmatist; a scientist and inventor, largely self taught, his spirituality was rooted in authentic and open minded inquiry and observation.

He would say to me, “Prayer is not about asking, prayer is about listening – to the gentle whisper of God and to follow the guidance that whisper gives us.”

As I sit in quiet contemplation over the events which took place yesterday here in Boston – now eerily dubbed The Boston Marathon Bombings, I, like many others here locally and perhaps around the world are asking, “where are we going, what is happening and what can we do?”

Every time an event of this caliber occurs, there are initial reactions of shock, then anger and invariably a sustained sense of grief – especially for those directly affected by the events.  For many, if not most, in place of a total sense of helplessness, we resort to prayer, whether it is through a traditional approach, in meditation or just in a moment of silence.

Perhaps we ask in our prayers to be given an answer as to why such an event would occur.  Perhaps we will ask for the “perpetrators” of such an act are brought to justice or that events like these simply cease.  The common thread is that we ask.  Although it is written that “ask and it shall be given to you…”, still these events persist – for whatever reason.  And there is always something to be learned from such experiences.  If nothing more, we have an opportunity to hone our ability to pray effectively.

Many wise ones throughout history have noted that in their most intimate moments of solitude – those brief periods of stillness that come between the words they speak, answers will often bleed through.  These periods cannot be measured and yet they often contain the most powerful and truthful revelations of that for which we are praying.  That “gentle whisper from God” as my father called it can be heard if we are attuned to its signature.

The events of April 15, 2013 (less than 24 hours ago at the time of this writing) are still very fresh in our minds.  We are still preoccupied perhaps with news reports and updates and chatter with our friends and neighbors about the event.  And so it can become difficult to still the mind in preparation for prayer and even more difficult to attune our inner ear to that little whisper that is certainly present. 

~In silence, the answers will come~

As time goes on and we are able to clear our heads and our hearts, let us contemplate my father’s advice.  Sit in silence and listen – just listen to what spirit has to say - with no preconceived notions, no conditions and no expectations as to its wise counsel.  Spirit knows our concerns.  Spirit knows where our thoughts are focused.  Perhaps we need not speak a word, but simply feel the feeling in our hearts, whether it is of sadness or grief, anger or resentment, or a plea for peace.  Just listen to the gentle whisper and let it guide you toward the answers you seek.

To all who were both directly and indirectly affected by the events at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, may you receive that gentle whisper and may it comfort you in all the days to come!

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