Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Listening Bead

I have been doing a prayer bead practice, based on the one outlined by Erik Walker Wikstrom in Simply Pray. I enjoy it; it's a good way for a monkey-mind like me to keep my thoughts organized, or at least to have a way to bring me back to what I was concentrating on.

Today, I was at the third topical bead, that of "Listening." I sat in silence, relaxing, receptive, listening ...


This was not a flight of fancy from my fluttering focus. This was my four year old. Mahnamanah, she trilled, downstairs.

Focus. Relax. Listen above and below.

Thump thump thump. Little Warrior is coming up the stairs.

Can I pray with you? she asks.

Yes. I settle her on my lap. We take breaths together.

"When I breathe in, I breathe in peace ..."

Mama, I'm going to hold the beads for you, okay?

"Yes. When I breathe out, I breathe out--"

Mama, is it this bead?

"Yes. Now take a deep breath with me," I instruct her. She obeys, puffing out her cheeks.

"When I breathe in--"

Mama, is it 4 more times?

"Um, I think so. Yes."

"When I breathe in--"

Mama, can I have a sip of your coffee?

"Let's skip listening and go to who we want to pray for."

There are sages alone on a mountain top meditating in silence. There are seminarians who are full scale in divinity school, living, eating, and sleeping at their school. Sometimes I envy them, no need for balance, the opportunity to be completely immersed in this challenging, exciting world of religious philosophy.

Well, my path is a little different. It merges with the paths of others for whom I am responsible. More than a braid, this path is macrame, like that owl decoration your aunt had in her living room in the 70's.

You know. The one with the beads.


Earthbound Spirit said...

I love it. As the director of the sangha I belong to says "children are intuitive zen teachers - they keep us in the present like nothing else."

Good reminder to me today to live today - and let tomorrow take care of itself.


Jay said...

I love the Mahnamanah song!!