A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.

Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Prayers for Lent, Day 19: Give Up, Take On, Pray

"One of the most significant negative habits we should be aware of is that of constantly allowing our mind to run off into the future...Carried away by our worries, we’re unable to live fully and happily in the present. Deep down, we believe we can’t really be happy just yet—that we still have a few more boxes to be checked off before we can really enjoy life."
                               ―  Thích Nhất Hạnh* 1926-

              It’s one thing to hope for and plan for the future. It’s another thing to live in it before it arrives and, in so doing, miss all the opportunities of today to smile, appreciate, enjoy. Even in the darkest of times, light will shine through the clouds. How many times have you played the game of: once the car is paid off….once the kids are through college….once the new roof is on….once the dentist bills are paid….once the house is fixed up, paid off, sold….once we retire….THEN we'll be able to…… Take moments you have in the NOW and the THEN will take care of itself.

Dear God of Maybe Someday ~
           All this business of "live for today and tomorrow will take care of itself" is all well and fine but I have bills to pay, income to worry about, repairs that can't wait for the house and the car and even the teeth and, and, and.... [once again: insert long, s l o w, d e e p, breath here]. Ok, all right, for today I will give up looking so far ahead that today is gone before I know it. I will take on setting the cell phone timer to go off once an hour for 6 hours and when it does I will take one, long, slow, deep breath and take 30 seconds to look around me and notice something I haven't noticed before whether in my immediate surroundings or outside of a window. Or, I will look at a picture of someone I love and smile and be glad to have him or her in my life. I will pray to be aware of and to be thankful for all the good moments that I have in this day.  I will thank You, Dear Lord, and remember that Life is a gift, as someone once put on a tacky plaque, that's why we call it the present. amen.

*Thích Nhất Hạnh is a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, peace activist, teacher, prolific author, and poet who was once nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  He has written and lectured extensively on the connections between Buddhism and Christianity in such works as "Living Buddha, Living Christ" and "Going Home, Jesus and Buddha as Brothers." He studied comparative religion at Princeton University and was appointed lecturer in Buddhism at Columbia University.  He currently lives in a monastery in the South of France but travels frequently around the world to lecture.

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