When I awoke with a prayer running through my head like a song, I knew that the door was already wide open to happiness.
Instead of finding myself awash in thoughts already run rampant — or consciousness dragging to life like sluggish motor oil, here was this mild, steady, comforting rhythm already oscillating inside me. All-embracing, and transporting.
This affected me so deeply that when it came time to read the prayers I customarily say with my husband each morning, the mere sight of words like “the All-Merciful, the Ever-Forgiving” and “the ocean of Thy nearness” overwhelmed me, like immersion in an ocean of light.
I am embarking upon what Baha’is sometimes call the “Season of Restraint.” This is a period at the close of our calendar year when, for 19 days, we are asked to undergo a material fast from food and drink during daylight hours as “an outer token of the spiritual fast … the withholding of oneself from all appetites of the self, taking on the characteristics of the spirit, being carried away by the breathings of heaven and catching fire from the love of God.”
Fasting from the appetites of the body reminds me how insistent these appetites can be; how unsatisfied, and unsatisfying.
And how much time the business of survival can consume in my day, and my awareness — especially when it’s overemphasized by the culture around me to the point at which I might begin to forget that I have a spiritual life at all.
Fasting reminds me that there is an entirely other possibility waiting in my living that’s like a portal to a wider, kinder refuge. One in which I am visited and accompanied by a grace like the prayer that woke my heart.
Adapted from Life at First Sight: Finding the Divine in the Details: http://www.amazon.com/Life-First-Sight-Finding-Details-ebook/dp/B00B5MR9B0/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=