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Born in the US, raised on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, lived in Italy, the US, and Canada. Lover of language, travel, colour, and the natural world.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Reverb10, Day 12: A state of prayer

Prompt: Body integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn't mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? 

The author of this prompt is Patrick Reynolds:
The Knowledge Workers Survival Guide

YES. Absolutely. I cannot believe I have been thinking about this question all day, reflecting on my yoga practice, hiking, swimming, and all the other things that I do that make me feel present, and it took me until almost 11pm tonight to realize that the one time when I am completely integrated -- where I become a single, undivided being, is when I am praying.

When I am in a state of prayer, my body, which I envision as a temple for my soul; and my mind, whose purpose, in my understanding, is to facilitate the development of the spiritual capabilities, are working together to facilitate the experience of communion between my soul and its Creator.

The ultimate experience of this union of mind and body was when I was on pilgrimage in the Baha'i Holy Land this past spring. From the minute I began my ten days of pilgrimage, it was as if any consciousness of having a mental awareness and a physical body completely disappeared. I felt as if I was floating through my days. I was so intensely connected to the spiritual reality within and outside of myself that every faculty I have was being used to serve the intensity of my experience. So much so that the perfume of the gardens, the sound of the fountains bubbling against marble and tumbling down the mountainside, the melody of birdcall, the texture of cool stone beneath my feet, hand-woven carpets against my palms and forehead when I prostrated on the floor, and even the intensity of light flooding the rooms I moved through became a single wave of overwhelming power that swept me up and carried me, completely immersed in its majesty, until I departed from that blessed land.

I have the opportunity to immerse myself in this experience of physical, mental and spiritual unity every day when I sit in silence and enter the world of prayer, but in Haifa this past spring I was given the gift of immersing myself in this place every moment of every day for ten days straight, so it intensified the experience significantly.

I try to recall the sensations of being in Israel when I close my eyes to prayer. I imagine the saturating light pouring in from skylights above me; the richly woven Persian carpets beneath me; the rich perfume of roses hanging in the air around me. When I close my eyes every day for my obligatory prayer, and turn to face Bahji, when I pray in the morning as I begin my day, and at night before I lie down to rest, every illusion of there being a separation between my body, my mind and thoughts, and my soul seems to fade, and I find myself hanging in a profound and mysterious sensation of oneness. Oneness within, and oneness with everything and everyone outside of myself also. It is not limited to the confines of my physical body.

What is your experience of oneness?

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