Listening with the Heart

Maybe prayer doesn’t mean talking to God at all.
May it means just listening.
Unplugging the TV, turning off the computer,
Quieting the mental chatter and distractions.
Maybe it means listening to the birds
And the insects, the wind in the leaves, the creaking and groaning of the trees,
Who else is out there, not far away but nearby;
Sitting so still we can hear our heartbeat,
Watch our breath, the gentle whoosh of air,
The funny noises from our own insides,
Marveling at the body we take so much for granted.
Maybe it means listening to our dreams,
Paying more attention to what we really want from life,
And less attention to all the nagging, scolding voices from our past.
Or maybe it’s all about listening to each other,
Not thinking ahead to how we can answer or rebut or parry or advise or admonish,
But actually being present to each other.
Perhaps if we just sit quietly we’ll overhear a peace whispering through the centuries
That’s missing from the clamor of the moment.
Maybe prayer means listening to the silences between the words,
Noticing the negativity of space,
The vast, undifferentiated and nameless wonder
That underlies it all.
Maybe prayer doesn’t mean talking to God at all,
But listening with the heart,
To the angel choirs all around us.
Those who have ears,
Let them hear.