“Palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.” ~ Romeo & Juliet, William Shakespeare
Love is sacred and powerful. Like prayer. Both require strong faith and trust into which we surrender. There is incredible power to this kind of devotion; of a deeply spiritual act that kneels us each and every time like nothing else ever could. Prayer is a love song. Intimate. A love song through which we enter into an intimate relationship with the divine. Prayer is an offering. We offer ourselves wholebodily and wholeheartedly, without resistance.
“Prayer is a deeply erotic act.” ~ Briana Saussy
I paused at the unusual comparison when I first heard that, so I wanted to explore it further. If we move away from the limited understanding of the simplistic description of the word “eroticism”, we’ll find that this makes a lot of sense. What is eroticism? The ancient mystics described eroticism as aliveness, vibracy, vitality and ecstasy. It is a transgressive force negating the “known” to break the boundaries of reality and take us outside of the limitations of life. In a way, eroticism is the antidote to death and this is what prayer becomes in our most needed times; a red string to a lifeline, a tender hope.
Prayer is a deeply erotic act. Our entire body opens to experience the extraordinary beyond the explainable, to surrender into the blind faith and trust of the unknown and unseen. We let go of the mind’s rational explanations and reach out with trembling hands for a tender hope in the light of our blackness.
In our most humble, weakest, helpless and most sorrowful times we fall to our knees. As gentle and holy as prayer is perceived, it is actually fearless and strong. Prayer is never afraid to get its feet dirty with us in our darkest times. It crawls through the mud through thorns and nine-inch crucifixion nails, continuing to hold us like tender love, like the loving arms of a mother holding her newborn baby. Prayer remains with us through the struggles and resurrects us.
The soothing hands of prayer are always re-stitched by the bright edges of sun every day. Where even fears fear to walk, prayer holds our tender bodies to take us back safely home. Through the distant walls as if suddenly someone thought to write timidly a window on the concrete, prayer witnesses our tears and never leaves us alone.
With crouching bodies, we squeeze our hands tightly to whisper our sadness, worries and soul desires into candle flames. And with these same hands, we hold the face of our beloved. And with these same lips, we kiss our beloved.
Because love is like prayer.
It is intimate and sacred. It is to be honored and kept private. It is a blessing. And to bless something is to protect it.
The most powerful love is not just physical and emotional, it is also spiritual. It is treated with respect, care and nurture every day.
Prayer is not used to influence others. It is not used to be forced on others, or as means for manipulation, greed, guilt, shame and selfishness.
Prayer is an act of blessing to root us within and witness our soul. Prayer embraces tensions and helps us explore paradoxical situations.
So what if we didn’t just pray when things got rough? What if we didn’t just appreciate love when it went away? What if we lived a more conscious, loving and connected life each day?
Here is the thing. Love is a sense of being just like prayer is a natural state of being. Prayer is the natural state of our heart, mind, body and soul.
We pray in many ways that we don’t even realize. We pray while singing, drumming, dancing, chanting, laughing, clapping, storytelling, painting, showering, praying, gardening, watering, meditating (staying silent), observing, walking, feeding, writing, lighting a candle, holding another, holding ourselves, reading sacred text, witnessing the tears of another, witnessing our own tears, speaking with kindness, forgiving, touching with care, caring for animals, touching with tenderness, bathing, honoring the elders, helping someone, and on and on and on.
The thing is that we are rarely aware that we pray in these more subtle ways. But when we are more aware of the intention and rhythm of our soul’s pulse – we’ll be more conscious of it. Being more conscious of our life and its tiny steps – makes us more connected and appreciative.
For example, a good prayer and self-blessing at night can be thanking our body. Remember – you are a body of love rituals; of words, sensations and gestures.
“My dear body, today you made …….. possible, thank you. My dear body, you are beautiful and strong because ……. My dear body, may I give you the nourishment, care and rest that you need, especially ……. My dear body, whenever I become critical or judgmental on myself, please remind me gently of how you hold me and carry me through the day as best as you can no matter how I’ve felt. My dear body, you are my Blessed body. My Blessed body, I love you, Thank you.”
We can use similar prayers for everything in life, and also for each other. When we give more appreciation to our every day and to ourselves, we live a life of more blessings and love.
One of the most important things in relationships and marriages is gratitude and appreciaton. When we get carried away with the struggles of life, we can forget all these little things and we never should! Bickering is a killer. Remind yourself of the blessing that you are – and be one for other people. Notice the little things and don’t take them for granted just because we’ve become used at seeing them each day. There is always something new to explore in someone (and in ourselves) no matter how long we’ve been together. If we look at the familiar too closely, we can always discover something new; a new shade, a new detail, a new angle and a new sparkle.
In Vedic Astrology, the purpose of marriage is seen from the ninth divisional chart known as the Navamsa. Now, most people might wonder why – since the 7th house is the house of marriage and partnerships, while the 9th house is the house of higher beliefs and dharma. So why the 9th house? This is very symbolic. A marriage is seen as an ashram. It is seen as a spiritual temple. It is our devotion to another human being with whom we have chosen to share our life and path with. A marriage is a merging of two dharmic paths – of two souls who merge to trust and believe in each other and bring their merged path forward. It is learning and growing together. It is supporting each other. It is a temple, an ashram of higher development through the other person. As such, we need to treat it with the privacy and honor that we would as if it was our temple. We need to respect it. We need to be faithful. We need to support it and care for it. There is I, there is you and then, there is the relationship. This relationship becomes the temple which we need to garden and nurture. It becomes a devotion. And every day there needs to be expression of this appreciation, care and nurturing – noticing the little things. Of course it takes both partners to understand this and make it happen. And both need to appreciate the relationship and each other.
We can only love what we appreciate.
Love is powerful. Prayer is powerful. Both are sacred. Both are blessings. Both are natural states of our being. The trick is to open our eyes, understand it and treat it with the respect that it deserves. There is no wrong or right way – but whatever you do, do it wholebodily and wholeheartedly. Allow your entire self to open up and experience the mysticism that life truly is.
Much Love & Peace
Cover Art by John William Waterhouse