Walking a big city is like walking
in the woods - except the trees
are people and, maybe, the cars
are squirrels, and other ground
animals, maybe the taxis are
birds and the buildings, the
buildings all around, instead
of being trees of anything
towering, they instead represent
'awareness,' the closure of place,
the wrapping of the situation into
and around oneself. Hard to put,
exactly; but I get the very same
sense of wonder - perhaps even
more - in such a scene, than I do
in the densest most unspoiled part
of any woods, any Hacklebarney
or Stoke's Forest hereabouts. I know
it doesn't exactly sound correct, and
that nature people usually disdain
urban things and city people, but in
my case the swing-set has equal seats,
thanks, and both are comfortable.
You see, I think about a lot of things
as I walk, and in so many ways it's
like prayer, more than anything else.
The strange part of the idea, the
conflicted dichotomy, is to decide :
should I walk with an empty mind,
in a 'meditative' manner, or should
I walk totally consumed with a
presence, of prayer, of God
consciousness, or whatever? It
all sounds simple enough, but it's
not really. All around me, as I walk,
is the presence of humankind, but also
of Godkind. I get astounded by the
idea of 'Man', the engineer, the designer,
the maker, who can craft so heavily
all these many things - the spires, the
tall buildings, the vast roadways, the
railcars. A million imponderables all
going on - as it is - at once. Wherever
can I even begin my thoughts?
I am reminded, again, of something else :
One of the problems with prayer is that
it's said to be, after awhile, completely
consuming, so much so that, once done
correctly, it becomes automatic and you
need no longer consciously set about
praying - your life and your being just
automatically always are. Totally and
completely absorbing, of the body-feel,
the body-concept, and of the complete
and conscious (and unconscious) work
of that body. Automatic holiness amidst
the unholy, amidst all other things. Sort
of like a halo - except instead of being
at the top of one's head it's everywhere,
and it's around you too. In the middle of
a vast city, any city, you can feel it -
why? Because of the unholiness
prevalent too. Like some magnetic or
electric consciousness, the dichotomy
is set off, ringingly, between the two.
You feel that current flowing and
fighting, and, if prepared and done
rightly, the prayer side always wins.
(Prayer's not the right word, not even
a good word, here, for this. But
it's all I have without ponderously
right now inventing another one : like
'Manifesting', or 'Gracifying' or some
other awkward concept). The complication,
as I see it, for most people ends up
being that they can never just 'do' it,
mindlessly. And if you're not doing
it that way (if it's not, therefore, only
a simple meditation on the 'screen
of place') it's useless. Most people
screw it all up by insisting upon
praying FOR something - a result,
an earthly end product. How's it said,
'God don't do vacation homes.'
Meaning, of course and simply, that
if you're asking for things by your
praying, what actual good is any
of it and where do you (or anyone)
get off doing that and thinking that
your 'human' concern deserves it?
Aren't you trying to lay up some
kind of treasure - a one that's as
negotiable, really, as any other
useless thing. You can't just go
ahead and play the 'God' card as it
pertains to your health or well-being,
or possessions or wants and travels.
It simply doesn't work that way.
It has to be an empty yet solid,
consuming sense of presence that
anyone else cannot really even
talk about to you and with you
over. There's no difference, again
between someone greedy for
material treasure or greedy for
spiritual treasure. You can't 'want'
something from your prayer. It has
to just be. That's why we are, at base,
each a 'one', alone. To base our 'pray'
upon the Monad that we are.
We are NOT the mass.
Just the other day, this chubby little
guy in leisure clothes approached me,
as he was handing out little religious
cards about being 'Saved' and 'Salvation'
and all of that - his church, his mission.
Personally, I, right off, disliked his look -
way too colloquial and way too much in a
comfortable vein. I'd have been much more
interested and impressed if he was
bedraggled, ascetically thin, unkempt even,
and hairy. To be factual, he seemed a bit
too much of the 'Vacation Harry' sort to me.
Perhaps that works in Idaho or Indiana or
Ohio, but not here. Fact of the matter is, this
little Blimpo was interrupting my moment,
my prayer time, by his applied, (misapplied,
as I saw it), concern for me, (seems too as
if everything is always paradoxical for me).
His demeanor was annoying - in the manner
of any such thoughts of 'God' being pleasant
and fruitful and happy always are - everything
lacked 'gravitas'. Evidently I looked to him
as someone who needed that special extra
moment - he seemed of a concern for me,
which I suppose was OK, but I couldn't get over
the other idea of him just needing or seeking
another ass for the pew in that little mission
church building of his he was advertising.
Anyway, the topping on his helping of
whatever here was what really got to
to me. He stopped, looked at me, and
asked, quite face to face, if there was
perhaps 'any need for prayer, anything I
wanted that needed praying for right now?' I
said 'no, thanks,' and he moved on.
His next contact. a woman some hundred
paces from me, I noticed, evidently did
acquiesce to a prayer need - as I saw them
both together, on the sidewalk, facing each
other with heads down and his hand onto
her shoulder. Amazingly, in a moment, as
she walked by me, on the same path she'd
been before, she was holding a tissue and
I noticed her eyes were
streaming with tears.