Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details

The prayer that woke my heart


Photo: Nelson Ashberger

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.

Photo: Nelson Ashberger

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.” 

Photo: Nelson Ashberger

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=


7 thoughts on “The prayer that woke my heart

  1. Thank you for this! What a beautiful reminder that we are spiritual beings, living for now in a material atmosphere. Denying our appetites does sharpen our spirits and brings a peace like no other.

    I really enjoy your writing!

  2. Pingback: Characteristics, Chaos | Quality of Life Ministries

  3. Bless your soul, Jane – your words are always a gift to my heart!

  4. What a beautiful way to wakeup AND such a perfect description of the Baha’i Fast. Thank you .

  5. Kindle the fire of love, and burn away all things…
    Sitting in the Haifa Pilffrim House, reading The Universe Within Us.
    Sending thoughts and prayers,

  6. I read very little of what pops up on my Facebook, to be honest. But everyone once in awhile something calls me to stop and listen. Today it was your post. My heart is full, from your words, your prayers, your commitment to a beautiful spiritual practice. May we all walk awake and in joy. My best to you and Jon.

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