From my earliest recollections I knew this could not be it.
When I say I knew this could not be it the “it” I am referring to is the world I was being handed and interpreted by my then authority figures. Reality as it was being described and explained made no sense to me what-so-ever.
No sense what-so-ever.
I had a dream when I was six or seven that an Indian chief came and kidnapped me from my bed and carried me a long distance, laying me face down on a desert of very hot sand. Though I had been carried quite a distance I could faintly see the outline of my family in the direction from which I had been carried. It was more a revelation than it was a dream. I can still to this day feel every aspect of it. The huge hands around my waist. The sensation of the chief running and carrying me. The heat of the sand. The looking back. Way back.
I awoke with a start and with a deep knowing that I would never fit within my tribal system again.
And I never did or have.
I have had a similar sense of prayer and praying my entire life. I have always suspected that this could not be it. That the religious exercise that I was taught was as anemic as it was unfulfilling. And it was as ineffective as it was unfulfilling.
The ways of praying that I was taught as a child were left behind me when I was carried away to what I now know is a desert of greater possibility. The prayer of my tribal system was mental, bargaining, pleading, outlining, and downright arrogant. I was told inadvertently to describe my problems in detail to an up and out God, and then tell “him” how and when to fix them. I remember the sensation of squeezing shut both my hands and my eyes for greater emphasis. I also recall it feeling vague and vastly empty. The old praying “to-for” was dissonant from an early age.
I knew this could not be it.
That Indian chief carried me away to a place I now know I was born to dwell.
It was never about rejecting my “tribe.” I am clearer than ever that my family and culture were the perfect container for my Soul-unfoldment. I also know I needed to move far beyond yet in sight of those systems. The contrast was and remains highly useful. That includes the religious tradition I was born into. While I see and experience it in radically different ways at this point in my journey there is nothing adversarial in how I view it. I needed it then. I transcended it by including it. Archetypically it is still highly useful.
And I knew it could not be it.
I am grateful to report that while I discovered that there is indeed far more to life than what I was taught I do not reside in a fixed state that thinks I somehow now know. I am blessed to live within an openness regarding an ongoing evolution in perspective and in prayer. I remain curious and permeable. I do not fear the possibility that one night while asleep an Indian chief will once again pick me up and carry me further from the tribe and the culture that I now inhabit. I not only do not fear it. I welcome it.
Praying for me is no longer mental. It is void of bargaining, pleading, and outlining. If there is some sense of arrogance left, I am not aware of it.
Praying for me now is felt, intimate, uncontrolled, and vital. I have a far greater sense that prayer is happening in me than I do that I am somehow managing a process. I engage in praying by keeping my non-negotiable appointments with my “prayer-chair.” I drop into my heart. I breathe, I align, I attune, and I come into entrainment with the frequency of my Source. I not only do not tell “God” my problems or how I think they should be fixed. I do not tell “God” anything. I simply steep. I simmer. I let be.
I simply steep, simmer, and let be.
Nary a word. An indescribable state of expectancy. Variable yet also stable. I seek to change nothing about it or me. I simply show up and let prayer happen.
Vastly different from the prayers of my initial experience. Different, even blasphemous, I guess. Yet also deliciously intimate. Moving.
I guess you could say that long ago I got carried away. And it is still happening.
And while there remains room and openness to go deeper, I know that my Indian chief took me to where I was meant to be. Where I was meant to abide. Where I am meant to dwell.
There is finally a place within me that prays and knows beyond knowing that this is it.