“Courage is fear that has said it’s prayers.” -poet Karle Wilson Baker 1921
Just for today, do you want to focus more on worry or prayer? I have worked with people who have had so much anxiety they could not ride in planes, cross bridges, shop in major grocery stores, or drive a car. Through meditation, prayer, and a commitment to not velcro to their anxious thoughts, I have seen these individuals completely turn their lives around. Anything is possible.
Worries have no end point. You are not your anxiety and worry. Where will all your anxieties be after you die? They are not truly who you are. Take a moment and decide, “Enough. From now on more prayer, less worry.” It takes a conscious commitment one day at a time, until prayer takes over on it’s own. If you want, eventually prayer will take over. Your body and mind are a vehicle for prayer.
When worry comes let it move through, without indulging, fearing, or pushing it away. Worries are not your fault and not something wrong with you. Let worries roll through like a big wave. In Hawaii if you get pulled under by a big wave, you roll with it, and in a few minutes the ocean gives you a lull to swim to safety. If my daily worries go into hyper-drive or panic, I remind myself that even panic tends to last less than 5 minutes, and if I can roll with that too, it will move through. Rainer Maria Rilke advised his students: “Let everything happen to you. Beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.”
If all else fails, breathe. Breathe into your belly. What can you trust at your core? When you are on your last breath you will have prayer. If a tragedy happens you will have prayer. Prayer is always here waiting for you, as a friend, a guide, and an eternal resource. A Buddhist friend who died of ALS a few years ago mentioned that meditation was his best friend in the final stages of the disease, and without it he would have crumbled due to the pain.
Find time each day to cultivate your friendship with prayer and meditation. Your prayer might be something as simple as blessing people. In busy airports or stores if I find I’m getting overwhelmed, I start to bless everyone I see. This reminds me that each person is someone to love. Each day I also repeat, “Trust life,” Thy will not my will,” and “I don’t need to be general manager of the Universe.”
Overall, prayer and meditation is how we meet each moment. Prayer is a willingness to meet each moment with heart. Ultimately there is no other choice. Start now. Aloha.