Inspirations: Prayer and Presence

anne andrews

photo by anne andrews

Hark! in what rings
and hymning circulations the quick world
Awakes and sings!
The rising winds,
And falling springs,
Birds, beasts, all things
Adore him in their kinds.
Thus all is hurled
In sacred hymns and order, the great Chime
And Symphony of Nature. Prayer is
The world in tune. . .
from The Morning Watch, Henry Vaughan (1650)


And when. . . I prayed with my heart, everything around me seemed delightful and marvelous.  The trees, the grass, the birds, the earth, the air, the light seemed to be telling me they existed for man’s sake, that they witnessed to the love of God for man, that everything proved the love of God for man, that all things prayed to God and sang his praise.
from The Way of the Pilgrim, R.M. French, trans.


Whoever recollects God in reality, forgets all else beside Him, because all the creatures recollect Him, as is witnessed by those who experience a revelation.  I experienced this state from evening prayer until one third of the night was over, and I heard the voices of the creatures in the praise of God, with elevated voices so that I feared for my mind.  I heard the fishes who said: Praised be the King, the Most Holy, the Lord.
from Mystical Dimensions of Islam, quoted in Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Prayer of the Heart



A Persian Garden

In the Ladies’ Garden
I climbed to the turquoise cupola.
Minarets tattooed with characters:
that Cufic script became clear
beyond its meaning.
I did not have the vision without images,
I did not see forms whirl till they disappeared
in immobile clarity,
in the Sufi’s being-without-substance.
I did not drink plenitude in vacuity
nor see the two and thirty signs
of the Bodhisattva’s diamond-body.
I saw a blue sky and all the shades of blue,
and the white to green
of the spread fan of the poplars,
and, on the tip of the pine tree,
the black-and-white ouzel,
less bird than air.
I saw the world resting upon itself.
I saw the appearances.
And I named that half-hour:
Perfection of the Finite.
from Happiness in Herat, Octavio Paz