Ordinarily, I don’t go to the woods alone. I prefer to go with my friends who are smilers and talkers. Although I welcome the restorative qualities of nature, an environment populated by animals alarms me. I live in the city where the only snakes I encounter are human.
Writing and music are my woods, where I go to pray. Accompanying singers and making music with others is fun and stimulating, but sitting at the piano or playing my flute alone, I transcend to a space where smiling and talking are noisy interruptions. Writing settles my mind, centering me on the present.
Karen Armstrong confesses, I have discovered that the religious quest is not about discovering “the truth” or “the meaning of life” but about living as intensely as possible here and now.
Where do you go to pray? Just as the body needs sleep, the soul needs prayer. Not the heart-wrenching cries to a “Santa in the sky” god, but moments to connect with all living things so that we can live intensely. I call that connection ‘God’ although it doesn’t need a label. It’s awareness and appreciation of the miracle and fragility of life on this planet resulting in valuing all life.
Find a place to pray. The world cries out for healthy souls.