Somewhere in the midst of a few hours lost in conversation mulling over my half-inch stack of copywriting Verbatim work, each other’s Lifspekis, and plans for yoga in Ubud, we made a deal: For one month we will each perform a daily ritual of the other’s choosing.
Laura Viviana, my partner in this experiment, went first.
Every morning I must say a prayer. I wasn’t expecting this at all. Nihilist hedonism, with selfishness as a high virtue, doesn’t tend to click well with prayer. But hey, it’s sure to make a good experiment, eh?
The first word is meant to be a word representing god, or the universe, or love. Whatever that word is to you…or in this case, me.
I mulled this over for like half an hour. Universe is too…used. Ideal self…doesn’t mesh well. Creation doesn’t encompass the feeling. Existance…same problem.
Swinging on the hammock, Sally’s ice coffee in my hand and what I’m sure was an look of extreme consternation on my face, Sally (the owner of the Dragon Pyramid Homestay…best hippie-perfect place I’ve yet lived in Bali) piped in:
“Just use Life.”
“Yeah Life. Use Life.”
“Life. Hmm. Let me try it out.”
A Life based prayer, said for the first time amongst the Yes!’s and Hmm’s of Sally in the background, and I’d found my word. It flows perfectly.
Life, make me an instrument of thy peace.
That where there is hatred, I may bring Love.
That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness.
That where there is discord, I may bring harmony.
That where there is doubt, I may bring faith.
That where there is error, I may bring truth.
That where there is despair, I may bring hope.
That where there are shadows, I may bring light.
That where there is sadness, I may bring joy.
Life, grant that I may seek rater to comfort, than to be comforted.
To understand, than to be understood.
To love, than to be loved.
For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
It is by dying that one awakens to eternal Life.
So that’s it. Every morning, after yoga, I will speak this prayer. Listening to every word.
As odd as it sounds…I’ve already seen it effect my though patterns twice tonight. 30 more nights to go.
As for Laura’s experiment…well, I’ll let her tell that half of this story.
It didn’t much work, mostly because I didn’t stick with it. I didn’t stick with it because I didn’t connect with this prayer.
One part did click though, and still has me thinking about it. “Seek to understand, not to be understood.”.
I love this. And it’s something I don’t usually do. I like it, as it allows me to be secure in my own self-understanding, and at the same time focus my attention outwardly to understand those around me. Beautiful.