Sidewalk Bends

Exploring the soul and it's reaches.

Posts Tagged ‘prayer

Patchwork Heart

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Patchwork HeartIf I trust what I see I am left to the visions that are shown to me. Whether it is my eyes or my mind’s eye, I am left to judge the truth of my perception.

If I am to trust what I hear, I am left to decide whether I have heard the voices of men, songs of birds, or the persistent wind that blows through my mind.

If I am to trust what I smell, I am left with my nose in the air as if to search out a scent, or an idea or an emotion so deeply tied to that which illicits my quandary.

If I trust what I feel, I am left to decipher the aches and pains of hardships past, or the real and sometimes forgotten suffering of those left silent.

Trust, I must. “Who?” or “What?” is the question. To my mind in silence I retreat. It tells me of stories heard, emotions felt and images seen. Filtered with today’s “truth” I see a world built for my mind. It entertains me. It convinces me of what I want. But what I want, I do not know. My mind tells me.

Can it write the play and be the actors? It tells me of impossibilities, when what I want are all the possibilities. It cannot fathom what it hides inside of itself. A shell worn thin, the truth peaks thru. The beating heart, it never withdrew. Love firm, a trust I know. Forgotten and neglected, if there is something to trust, may it be my heart, I know to be just.

photo credit: Wee Notions

Written by Sidewalk Bends

January 19, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Prayer, Meditation with Purpose

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people in prayerThe power of prayer does not come from how many times we recite a prayer. The power of prayer does not come from how many people pray for the same outcome. It does not come from facing Mecca, or facing the Wailing Wall. The power of prayer does not come from sitting in a church or peering through a glass floor at the supposed birthplace of Jesus. It does not come from ringing bells, or lighting candles. The power of prayer does not come from intermediaries such as saints or devotees. The power of prayer comes from one’s true intent. Prayer is like having an intimate relationship with the Creator. Prayer allows one to speak directly with God/Allah to give thanks, or to ask for guidance. Prayer allows for communing with all that is. Prayer is meditation with purpose. Prayer is peaceful awakening.

Spiritual Experience

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monk in prayerEverything in life is a spiritual experience. Walking is a spiritual experience. Eating is a spiritual experience. Playing is a spiritual experience. Sitting still and even sleeping are spiritual experiences. Everything we do in life is a spiritual experience if we can allow ourselves to treat all whom we meet, all that we do, all that we think and all that we feel as keys to understanding ourselves and those around us. Even the things we do out of perceived conflict are spiritual experiences. When we begin to sift through life and reflect on how and why we make the choices we make, we begin to understand that everything we have done in our lives, including our interactions with the world around us, have led us to this exact moment. Everything has prepared us for now. It is in this moment, like every moment before it and after it, that we decide our fate. Each moment points us to the next. And if we so choose, we can find ourselves in this moment, and if not this moment, perhaps the next. Experience this life. Experience yourself.

Written by Sidewalk Bends

February 24, 2011 at 6:31 am

Concerto of Life

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Brian Stone conducts the UD Orchestra and Schola Cantorum
Brian Stone conducts the UD Orchestra and Schola Cantorum

The path we choose to understanding is only as long as we choose to make it. In the path of the spirit, there are many self-proclaimed masters, prophets, wise men and learned men. Each seems to have his flavor of the truth, and his method for discovering enlightenment. Some prescribe meditation techniques. Others prescribe prayers or amulets. Some defer to the guidance of spirits, angels and so-called guides, while others still, defer to men who have come before them. Though some may speak in absolutes, who is right is anyone’s guess. Few, if any, will say they do not know, and can only tell of their own experiences. Fewer still will admit that what has been given to them is attainable by all.

The path to understanding is a personal one. Life is like a personal concert, a song between the Creator and each of His creations. Together we are harmonious. Each person, each creation, each instrument, plays its part in the grand arrangement that is life. So although some may try to tempt you to take another path, or to walk a moment with them on their path, your path is your path. The path to understanding is as long or as short as you choose to make it.

On Your Journey

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baptismMay your heart be open, your words be just and your actions be noble.
May you be imparted with wisdom that you may bring understanding to the world.
May you walk an unwavering path of truth that temptation may pass you by.
May you have a compassionate heart that you may bring peace and comfort.
May your spirit shine that you may be a guiding light.
May God’s grace be with you all the days of this life and the next.

Written by Sidewalk Bends

May 12, 2010 at 5:44 am

Blind Rituals

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Five Pillars of Islam

Is praying five times a day more important or is our relationship with God more important? Is fasting and abstaining from certain foods and activities more important, or is our relationship with God more important? Is making a pilgrimage to a holy site more important, or is our relationship with God more important? Is tithing and giving a certain percentage of our income more important, or is it the intent that drives the giving more important? In many religions there are rituals that we follow. Some are done because they are deemed as laws handed down by God. Some are done because it has been done for centuries. And still some are done because religious leaders say they should be done. How do we know who is right? Everyone has been following the same way for as long as anyone can remember, so how can it be any different? Could it be that the actions themselves are not so important, but instead it is the intent that drives them?

When we pray or meditate is the reason to ask for something for ourselves or for someone else, or is it to give ourselves to God? In prayer do we not bear ourselves to God? Do we not unload our worries and give our thanks for the life we live and the things that are given to us? Do we not ask for guidance and perhaps assistance in our daily lives? In doing these things, are we not building a relationship with God?

When fasting or abstaining from sex, do we do these things because it is said we should? What is the purpose? Is it not to remind us of the many blessings that God has given us and also of the many distractions that divert us from Him? Is it not to show us that if we build a proper relationship with God that nothing can distract us, neither the temptation of physical gratification, or the hunger pangs that our body might feel?

When giving to the poor, does one do it because they are made to do it? Is it done out of obligation or out of the kindness and generosity of one’s heart? If a person gives and then counts their losses, are they giving freely for lack of want, or out of the expectation of a divine reward? In giving freely, are we not reminded of our own blessings? In giving freely, are we not reminded that the shoe could be on the other foot?

Instead of blindly following rituals and laws written by men long before we can ever remember, perhaps it’s time to ask why we do the things we do? Perhaps it’s time to build our own relationship with God. Instead of chastising others for how they choose to worship God, perhaps it’s time to start looking at ourselves.

Guidance is Given to Everyone

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God’s guidance comes in many ways. It is up for us to open our eyes, to open our mind, to open our heart, and to open our spirit to all He has set before us. He speaks through the wind. He speaks through the birds in the sky. He speaks through the swirling clouds and the falling rain. He speaks through the trees. He speaks through the insects and the mountains. He speaks through the kindness of strangers. He speaks through silence. He cuts through the deafening clutter of our minds. Most of all He speaks through our hearts. If we would but listen, His guidance is there. There are no secrets. There is no secret book or hidden text. His guidance is there, if we would just take it. It is there. It is not for the special among us. It is not for the chosen. It is not for the elite. It is not for the poor or the humble. It is for everyone. Guidance is given to everyone, but by our own choosing, we shall seal our own fate.

I Pray the Lord My Soul to Keep

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When you see someone who is sick, why do you pray for them? Do you do it because you think they will get better? Do you do it because you cannot bear to see them sick or because you cannot bear to see them suffering? When you pray, do you announce it to the person you are praying for, or do you do it silently, unknown to others? We’re all different and some of us pray for different reasons.

USC football players pray before a gameSome pray for the outcome of a football game. Some pray for the current lottery numbers. Still, some others pray for well-being, or for better health. Some just pray to get to the next day, or even something as simple or as complex as seeing peace. We all have our different motives. Sometimes they come from a place so deep down, we did not even know it existed, and other times we ask for things so seemingly self-serving. What drives us? What drives you? When will we do things not for ourselves, but because someone else doesn’t have the strength to do for themselves? How much is too much to give of yourself? We all think we know. sometimes I even think I know, but when we are faced with it; When we are faced with actually doing and not just thinking, will we act?

How much is too much time to give of your own? How much money is too much money to give of your own? How much food is too much food to give of your own? How much love is too much love to give? Is anything even ours to give in the first place, or are we just vessels for temporary safe keeping? Are we really here to just help ourselves and pick off the buffet, or are we here to help each other and teach each other. The answers always seems easy, until we are faced with another choice to make; Each choice, driven by its own intent, an intent that is always known, whether we try to hide it or not.