Buddhist teacher Cynthia Jurs spoke in my Space Between Stories class last weekend. She spoke of acting from the subtle and how important it can be to stop and breathe in the midst of the chaos that seems to punctuate our world more than we want it to. She spoke of focusing on the space that is between where we are and where we want to go. She said it’s that space that allows new things to come into being and that it is important not to rush out of the unknown into a new story. It’s important to rest in the space that’s in between. From that space we can see and start to recognize our gifts, and we can offer those gifts out into our communities, our workplaces, our families and the earth itself. She reminded us that it is from our gifts – those gifts that are unique to our own being — that we can affect the “powers that be” in the deepest way and contribute to the healing of the world.
Cynthia shared the story of how her life’s work came into being, and without telling the whole story, (You can read more about her work and its origins at Earth Treasure Vase: A Global Healing Project) her vocation essentially took shape from living out of her deepest prayerful question: How can we bring healing and protection to the earth? Of course, there have been no easy answers, and it took her awhile to embrace the mission put forth to her. But by living in accordance with her deepest prayer, she has helped invite waves of healing and hope into the midsts of people all over the world.
Our task this week is to share our deepest prayerful question. Bayo Akomolafe, who was part of the course a few weeks ago, reminded us that prayers are more powerful when received by a community, when they are said into an embodied listening, and not just recorded in a journal or whispered silently alone in the dark of night. He also mentioned that the slowing down that we sometimes crave and pray for doesn’t always mean changing pace; rather, it can mean deepening awareness. He proposed that our troubles themselves can be seen as gifts when they are let to bleed into community as an offering. He reminded us that grief is not ours alone to bear.
Charles, course facilitator, invited the following:
What is your prayer? What are you ready for that maybe you just don’t know how to do? Make an offering of your yearning or your question. If you offer it with sincerity, something shifts in the world. An answer comes, likely in a form you cannot expect or maybe won’t even recognize. For this offering to have power, nothing is required beyond your sincere desire. You don’t need to believe the prayer will work. You don’t even need hope. All you need to do is ask the question sincerely from the bottom of your heart. It comes from what you actually care about in real time, not what your mind tells you you should care about in order to be good, ethical, responsible, or “making a difference” on a large scale. Who knows where even the smallest actions and the humblest service will lead?
Who knows, indeed. Sometimes shadows are our greatest source of hope.
What’s your deepest prayer?