Why I pray

Honestly, I am not a religious person. I don’t even know if I count as spiritual. I do know that I have a hyperactive imagination that borders on legitimately crazy, and this makes me susceptible to several self-created phantoms. So, you could say that I’m borderline superstitious, or maybe even a little too sentimental about minutiae that shouldn’t bother me.

I don’t know why I’ve always been indifferent to religion. Or the idea that there’s some larger force at work here, some fundamental drive that’s constantly pushing the universe one step closer to perfect equilibrium.

My mother, a faithful Hindu devotee, chants the Sanskrit names of deities when she’s worried.  She explained the mantras to me once. I remember a few because I’ve heard her sing them so many times that the memory is stuck in my head. But mostly, I remember the stories associated with each name, though. When I feel like my life is literally spinning out of control, I hear my mother’s voice recite the chants in my head. I can recite a few.

My mom says that prayer often gives her immense faith. She feels that the few minutes of her day that she spends recounting the names of powerful deities give her enough strength to go on for the rest of the day.

I feel more in control of my day when I have a plan and a list of things that I can cross out as each of my tasks complete.

But even then, there are moments when I feel small and weak and literally giving up. That’s when I try to channel my inner spirituality and say, “Hello divine authority, Not quite sure if you’re receiving this communique, but I’ve managed to deal with the world in this way today. If you could please take care of the consequences while I take refuge in my dreams, I’d be massively grateful. Many thanks.”

I imagine that as soon as I’m done registering the complaint, there’s a beacon somewhere that makes me feel better. It’s inside me, actually. It says “Your request is pending.” Maybe I’ll never know when my request gets processed. Sometimes, they happen automatically. Sometimes, I need to put in a little more effort from my mortal side in order to make it happen. But the sheer act of delegating responsibility, I feel lightened already. I  don’t know if the other authority will take care of it. I just tell myself that by delegating, I’ve made it someone else’s business, so I have no jurisdiction over it anymore.

Yeah, it makes me feel a whole lot better.

I pray because I don’t want to go to sleep another night hiding from my own tears. I pray that the sick friend in hospital is still fighting the good fight. I pray that I will be able to deal with whatever comes next. I pray that I am not confused. I pray that I’ll be able to recognize my body’s needs right, I know these are the small petty things, but I pray for them. I pray for them because I somehow feel that by extending my range to include people from farther reaches of the world, to encompass all the evil, all the misfortune and pray is really not something that will result in much of an effect. So I keep it small. Maybe sometimes it’s the small that makes a difference.

My mom doesn’t quite understand what my form of praying is, because it isn’t so ritualized or popularly practiced as chanting and observing festivals are. But sh’es glad that I’ve found some kind of spiritual outlet, and she always encourages me to keep this practice open. I pray that I can make her proud.

I pray that someday I’ll be able to look back at myself and be happy with the past me.

That’s why I pray.

Also check out: https://freestylerevolution.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/religion-realism/ written by a more traditionally spiritual friend of mine.


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