Coming to Life

In the recent post about prayer, the anonymous Hasidic master tells us that sometimes, when the love of God is burning fiercely within us, it is not we who say the prayer, but the words of the prayer are spoken through us; one could say, the prayer comes to life.

We may have a similar experience in a more mundane way in any creative endeavour: painting a picture, composing a melody, writing a story or poem, or perhaps planting a bed of flowers. Perhaps we begin with  a concept, but at some moment we may step back and look with recognition at what has formed, and say “I did not do that.  This is more than I expected.  This seems to have a life of its own!”  Indeed, the best artists, in whatever medium it may be, seem to be the ones who listen most sensitively.  One might ask a sculptor, ‘Why did you carve the statue this way?’ and be told, ‘Because that is what the stone wanted.’  The composer might say, ‘This melody wanted to be in this key, I could not write it differently.’ Writers often speak of encountering a character they themselves have created who will not follow the intended story, and that insists on changing the direction of the plot.

If this is true for our tangible creations it is much more true for the creation of our Divine Ideal.  Various posts have dealt with this subject of making more real the abstract notion of the Infinite and All-Pervading Truth.  From our experiences with life on earth, beginning from the cradle, we are accustomed to think in shapes and forms and sensations.  If we are told ‘God is beyond all form, God is all!’ we are confused, we don’t know how to begin our journey from the valley of limitation.  So, like the poet Kabir, we weave a fine garment to place upon our Ideal, so we have a way of relating to Perfection.  Perhaps we take the threads of love for our loom, because we feel the need to worship a God of Love; then the robe of Love clothes the Infinite and that becomes our perception of the Divine.

But if we are patient and attentive, we will see one day that our Ideal has taken on a life of its own: it is beyond our capabilities; it is much bigger, more living, more loving than what we put into it. Then our Ideal is no more a construction, and no more a belief, but a conviction, as Hazrat Inayat Khan might say; it is something we have experienced.  And it is then that the words of our prayers may be spoken through us.


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