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Spiritual ABC's -- Letter D


Express your feelings of praise and adoration through devotional practices. Pray with words and pray through your actions.

Spiritual Literacy -- Reading the Spiritual in Everyday Life, by Frederick and Mary Ann Brussat.

It seems to me that there are two parts to this: 
1)  The expression of feelings of praise and adoration
2)  Prayer

I have been a skeptic with regard to traditional religious practice for many, many years now, and so this language is a bit of a challenge.  For this to work for me, the notion of praise and adoration, and the notion of prayer have to all be directed toward some reasonable and essential mystery at the heart of everything.  I believe that honest and loving praise and adoration is entirely appropriate, and even vitally necessary in a loving, intimate relationship.  Too, I can encompass the idea that the creative energy that enlivens the universe is an awesome and wonderful evolutionary force.  Perhaps together, those bits will do.

The Latin word, adoratio, meant love given with deep affection to someone or something.  Historically, kings and princes have been the recipients of adoration from their subjects.  In those times when the world was filled with, and run by, potentates of all sorts, it was common practice for the common and ordinary folk to bow, to kiss the hand, or to fall prostrate at the feet of the Lord and Master.   Adoration, in this context, is not about religion.

So, OK.  I can practice devotion in the act of expressing my feelings of praise and adoration -- my love given with deep affection to the One that I have called Master for so many years.  I do experience what I do for Him as a sort of devotion, a moving, breathing, living exercise in loving through action:  coffees made with care, meals planned with attention to detail, clothing laundered and mended and organized with His comfort in mind, a thousand tiny, seemingly inconsequential tasks carried out as an endless, wordless hymn of praise and adoration.  I can speak to my continued amazement at the power of His mind, the greatness of His heart, the courage embodied in the work to which His life has been dedicated.  I can tell Him, way more often than I do, how very much His care and love and protection means to me; how I love the smell of His skin, the strength of His arms wrapped around me, the twinkle in His eyes when He finds something amusing...  I can express my praise and adoration.

Now, praying is another thing.  I'm not at all convinced that there is "someone" out there somewhere to pray to.  That creative energy that I experience as the center of the mystery is not a "person," not a who that I can pray toward.  Praying, however, is something that I do -- way more regularly than many of my "religious" acquaintances seem to.  I don't know exactly what it is that prayer does, but for me, it seems to get to some part of my brain that I can't access through normal, conscious, mental effort.  Praying gets into something deeper and different than my "knowing" mind.  If what we are all about here in this place is, somehow, evolutionary, then it may very well be that praying is part of what moves us forward along the evolutionary path.  If I can find a way to pray for whatever is "best" at this moment -- and not for more personally mundane and selfish wants and needs... then maybe the kind of praying that I can do will be good for all of us who share the creation.


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