If you are made more generous, more open, more kind, it is sacred – it is good love – it is your right way forward.
When I think of what does living a purposeful and fulfilled life mean – I think of living life as a prayer. Prayer brings us into more devotion, more love, more connection. And I truly believe that anything in life that makes us more conscious of love, more living in love and more giving of love – is sacred.
Contrary to what many people might think, prayer is not only the thing we do when we hold our hands together and say a religious text. Prayer is a natural state of our being – just like love is.
Prayer is the natural state of our heart, mind, body and soul.
We pray in many ways every day that we don’t even realize. We pray while cooking, singing, writing, drumming, dancing, laughing, clapping, storytelling, painting, showering, gardening, watering, meditating or staying silent, observing, noticing, walking, eating, 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.
Prayer is essentially the weaving of heart, mind and body – or in other words, we weave the emotions of heart, the intention and focus on thoughts, and the gestures of our hands, lips and feet. This creates a powerful weaving that aligns us from within and from without.
Prayer is devotional and it connect us to the divine, to God, or however else you want to call this incredible high power of Love, Trust and Faith. Through prayer, you also acknowledge that there is something divine, something more powerful whose only intention is to bring you towards more love, more loving, more appreciation and serenity of heart and mind.
The act of praying is a deeply mystical and transcendant act of true loving. 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 hopeful hands towards a tender hope.
As gentle as prayer is perceived to be, it is actually fearless and strong. Prayer is never afraid to get its feet dirty with us in our darkest of times. It crawls through the mud through thorns and nine-inch crucifixion nails, continuing to hold us with its loving arms and remaining with us always – for it resides in our heart.
Living life as a prayer.
To live a purposeful life often means to live life as a prayer.
It is natural for us as human beings to want to live a life of purpose – to reach our highest potential is what one of our deepest desires is. But purpose, and life’s purpose, isn’t something straight or direct, or one specific thing we have to do, neither is it a sudden aha moment. It is a act of devotion. And through our every day seemingly ordinary gestures and the authentic beingness of who we truly are, we inevitably create a change in all around us – touching the hearts of others, even if in small invisible ways. It is about realizing just how much power we already hold through our lips, emotions, hands, thoughts and gestures.
To live a life of purpose, we have to find something that we can devote our love and care to. Loving does not have to be towards another person – it can be anything and then nurture it like a garden. This is what we learn from the stories of Buddhist monks too – they have daily routines caring for the monastery and its gardens, and this is regarded as their great purposeful work. No task is too small, or too insignificant. And the rest unfolds as it may. Feeding the animals, volunteering, helping a stranger, opening the door for an elder, asking “how are you”, preparing a meal, laughing with our family, saying a supportive or encouring word, giving a compliment, reading a story to a child – all of these mirror to us how purposeful our very being is even when we think it isn’t.
And what were all these? Prayers.
Prayer is a hug or a meal cooked. Prayer is helping someone even when they didn’t ask or ask “how are you”. Prayer is when we encourage someone or say a sweet “good night”. Prayer is a natural state, when we give someone our time and energy, even if all we did was listen to them. It is a vibration, a feeling, a thought, a voice of love and an expression of our being. While we pray all the time, it is often unintentional because we are not aware of it.
So to live a life like a prayer means: to live intentionally.
What if we are consciously and intentionally grateful for every person and everything continuously, daily? What if we dedicate to lovingness, compassion and mercy towards ourselves and one another despite our differences? This allows us to be more receptive to all the beauty that life already is, as it unfolds before our eyes – rather than wonder around, away from the present moments.
You, in this body, in this moment and reality, are the perfect union between soul and flesh. There is nothing more beautiful than that; to be the dancing union of love. Consider this: Nothing is not as it should and you are exactly where you need to be. Allow the unique timing of your life.
To live life as a prayer is also about realizing and recognizing the divine nature in all things. We all have our own essences and natures of being, and this is what makes life beautiful in its contrasts. Surely, there are people we will not like – and if so, we can move away from them and not engage. We don’t need to be harmful towards anyone – we just move away.
Living life as a prayer reminds us to connect, and reconnect, to our heart and what matters to us most deeply – because that’s what we do in prayer – we remember what matters to us most and what we need. This allows us to be more mindful in our every day also – and able to navigate through things more smoothly. There will always be annoyances but if we can spend some time reflecting back and reconnecting to our heart – we will have a calmer way to realizing what we need to give our energy and time into, and what or whom we don’t and shouldn’t.
Another aspect of prayer is surrender. Many of us walk through life with so many burdens, carrying the burdens not only of ourselves but those of others also. And you know what – not everything is our responsibility. If we have grown up around people who didn’t take much self-responsibility and in environment of emotional instability where we couldn’t even express ourselves, it is only natural to feel a sense of wanting to be in control of everything. Because if we aren’t – all may fall apart. Because if we aren’t – there will be no peace around us. Because if we aren’t – we will experience and awaken the hurts from within us from back in childhood when we felt powerless.
Prayer remind us that it is okay to surrender – that we shouldn’t carry so much burdens thinking we have to do it all. Prayer reminds us to trust – and to let it hold us in its hands. To trust life and God enough, so that you know that even if you let go life itself will align and provide for you in the way you need. Surrender is not about not doing – it is not passive – it is the active knowing and true state of trust. You don’t have to have it all figured out – it is okay to let things unfold for you, and they will.
Accept the humbleness and allow others to care for you and support you – and to honor your needs because we all need others’ support and help sometimes. And while many people do not know how to love and how to care and support others, there are also those that do – and will – so look for them, share with them what you need and how they may help you.
And then comes gratitude – for prayer connects us to gratitude also. Remind yourself of the walking gratitude that you already are. Since prayer is about appreciation – you can say simple prayer for your body at night such as:
“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, with our daily annoyances and bickerings, we can forget all these little things and we never should. Remind yourself to see the beauty in your partner and other people – that they are doing their best despite their own struggles in their inner or outer worlds – that they woke up this morning and they are making an effort to make their day better with the tools they have – that they are doing the best they can.
Remind yourself also 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. Or take a walk together in nature and try to reconnect – make that your intention.
In Vedic Astrology, the purpose of marriage is seen from the ninth divisional chart known as the Navamsa. The ninth divisional chart is essentially about higher faith and higher purpose – and so many people might wonder why we would use this rather than seventh house which is the house of marriage and partnerships. And it’s because 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, in mutual support, love and caring. It is learning and growing together. It is supporting each other.
It is a temple, a devotional body of home, a monastery of higher development through another 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. When two souls kiss, a third is born – the soul of 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. 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 be more mindful of how we weave together our hearts, intentions and gestures. There is no wrong or right way to pray or to live – but whatever you do, do it wholebodily and wholeheartedly. Allow your entire self to open up and experience the mysticism that life truly is. To live life as a prayer essentially means – a promise to our heart – to live a life devoted to more love, more joy, more tenderness, more connection, more trust, and more loving, again and again, despite the doubts, the fears and the yesterdays.
For more of my writings, browse through my online publication Art of Love.
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Cover art by Boyana Petkova.