Sometimes when I imagine the”holier” version of myself, she sits in easy prayer in stone chapels, illuminated only by the stained-glass tinged sunshine that drenches the marble floor. And I think about my angry prayers and cranky prayers and distracted prayers and I feel like I’m not very good at praying.
But sometimes my heart is moved, quickly, by any number of things, and I go with it. I enter into wherever I am, whatever feeling or desire arises in my heart. I try to connect myself to it rather than push it away, and that’s prayer too, right?
I’m not sure who it was who first quipped “The world is your cloister” but they were right. I rarely go off to monasteries or even chapels searching for divinity, but I train my eyes to see divinity in the world.
These were my thoughts at acupuncture this past week, lying on the table in a dark room with needles sticking out of me, contemplating the mess of a year that had gotten me to that point. I thought “I should use this time to pray” and then I thought “I’m not good at praying” and then I was praying. I was sad and sick and tired and there was no stained glass to be found. But I was praying.
In my class in Rome last week we learned about St. Catherine of Siena’s idea of the Interior Cell. And I like it because with practice you can close your eyes and create that stone chapel wherever you are, even with needles in your back.