Prayer: Do not let me fall prey

Do not let me fall prey to the mechanical animal in my brain that calls me away from you. It looks and acts the same in me as it does in any caged creature. This beast is always ready to sever links with its human family, being altogether in pieces already, at the mercy of the crashing seas of circumstance. It cannot remain at home on its own shores, nor can it bask for long beneath the strong rays of another’s sun, for it lacks both an anchor to hold it steady, and an ark to take it safely across the river. Hone this loss-addicted, lusterless machine. Release the cold hand from panicked demands for another’s warmth, so the man can remember whose hand holds the key. Though I am eons from any final clarity, let disparity itself become fuel. Do not let the mud of confusion bury the blessing, but let the perishing puddles evaporate into the western wind; and, as the sun begins to set, let the spirit of beauty spearhead my inward evolution.

A Figurative Battlefield

I can’t let Life inside if I can’t find Life inside. But I don’t see anything when I look inside except darkness and emptiness. Not even an empty tomb, which might suggest resurrection, but just an empty black hole that goes on forever, in which life neither begins nor ends, making resurrection irrelevant. I don’t hear anything inside that hole except a soul oppressed into silence. Can you hear silence, if you attend to the rest notes between the sounds? But what am I talking about. It is not right for me to speak of silence. My mind might literally be silent, but it is a figurative battlefield, and I can’t figure out who the good guys are. I don’t know which side I’m on, so I become a traitor to both, a kind of double crossing puppet, pulled by the strings of an actor whose part is to suffer the morbid effects of the primordial split; to never forget that sting while traveling over the same forsaken territory, unraveling into the wound that keeps me feeling orphaned by Life, keeps me from singing my true song, the song of the undivided and undefended heart, David’s song of praise and thankfulness. I cannot see the hills that praise Thee when I cannot raise myself from the pit, even if it is only to reach my hand up and ask for Your pity.

I cannot see the hills. I am standing motionless in a treeless open field encircled by thick woods occupied by gunmen from both armies. There are soldiers at the ready in all four directions. Because the gunshot blast could come from anywhere, nowhere is safe.

No wonder, then, that I feel the pressing need to build some kind of fortified structure, to defend my exposed, solitary, defenseless self against the incoming blows. But although the soldiers on both sides smell blood, and want nothing more than to destroy the faithless man who stands alone, having reneged on his loyalty to both of their ranks, it is as if, due to now practically extinct remnants of their inborn sense of honor, they cannot kill an unarmed man. But the moment I buckle under the weight of my leg-shaking fear and start to build a defensive structure to shield myself from attack, they feel I have given them implicit permission to let blast.

Motivated by the almost complete hopelessness of the situation, and my fear of imminent death, I might very well build a nearly impenetrable fortress, the only opening a narrow slit that lets me look out, but which I can quickly shut when I see an attacker bearing down. I’ve forgotten one important detail, however. The battle takes place solely in my own mind. Both armies are within me. While I imagine that I am defending against the battalions, insulating myself in my fortress, I am actually building my own prison and then opening the gate to let my enemies inside. When I was in the open field, imagining that I was leaving myself completely vulnerable to attack, there was nothing to fear. The woods surrounding me were as empty as the field in which I stood alone. The gunmen were a projection of my mind. Now, enclosing myself within the citadel, which is within my mind, imagining I am finally safe from attack, there is nothing but fear. The woods are still empty, but the field now holds a cell, in which the soldiers swarm.