Prayer in Action
Question: My inner life is missing dimension. Do you have any ideas for how I can expand my interior work into my exterior life?
Answer: You may begin working to become inwardly active in your life in a whole new way by working with the following silent prayers (from the "seven silent prayers" in The Lost Secrets of Prayer). These prayers can turn your life around and are designed to help you begin the highly individualized work of turning yourself around and to consciously reorient yourself to the world waiting within. The first of these silent prayers that turn your life around is:
Allow that uncomfortable silence to remain unfulfilled in that embarrassing moment.
When you're with another person, or in a group of people perhaps around a dinner table, have you ever noticed in those most unexpected moments when a sudden and uncomfortable silence pours in, you feel compelled to fill it with something? You think anything would feel better than that temporary nothing now demanding your attention and everyone else's attention. What is it within you that wants to rush and fill it in?
Among other unconscious and self-compromising ideas is the belief that unless you do it - or someone does - that the ensuing moment of unfilled space is somehow a formal indictment of social unsuitability! In other words, this silent spot, if left unanswered, will prove that you're not that clever, all-knowing conversationalist you hope others see you as being. Just for the record, everyone involved feels this same brief attack of personal panic.
But for us the lesson in moments such as these is to come awake to ourselves and therein to see that this perceived moment of terrible emptiness feels like a pain. In other words, pressure makes you jump in.
Don't jump in. Turn around instead. Learn to watch these moments and to use them to be in touch with the inner man, the inner woman, whose True Nature doesn't fear anything, let alone a moment of silence! Working to put yourself in touch with our own fearless, silent Self will change your relationship with yourself and life.
Give up the last word to someone else who's obviously glad to take it. This second silent prayer-in-action is connected to the idea of not defending yourself before false accusers. Only the painful and unconscious idea that not having the last word is the same as losing yourself can compel you to verbally fight with anyone in this way.
Choose instead to consciously drop this losing war of words and watch how inner and outer worlds part by themselves, leaving you, at last, with the choice of where you will live.
This special spiritual understanding, and the hard self-work it calls for, will help you in other areas of your inner life as well. In learning to turn and walk away from arguments in the outer world, you're slowly earning the spiritual strength you need to let go of those interior battles where any kind of fighting is secret futility. No one wins in a dark inner dialogue except for the darkness that drags you into such a struggle with yourself.
Excerpted from The Lost Secrets of Prayer