Prayer is to the spirit as water is to the body — Source unknown
Swim in a River of Prayer
Before there was anything else on Earth, there was a great sea. Then the Creator reached out and touched the sea, and thus began life. A living thing thrived in the great sea, moving, moving, always toward life.
And the one became many, and the many grew in size and variety and beauty, and in something not quite like knowledge. The living things in the sea did not know the sea, because there was nothing else, only the endless water. They did not know that it was blue and green and beautiful. They did not know that without the sea they could not live. They did not know about the sun or the moon or the stars.
Then the Creator reached out again and caused a great upheaval of the Earth, and mountains rose up out of the sea. In time the rains and the sun and the tides gentled the mountains, and there were beaches and valleys. The sun raised water from the sea, and the wind blew the water over the land and baptized it with life — green and spreading, growing, and growing more, always toward life.
Then the tides threw creatures from the sea onto the dry land, and some were carried back into the deep, but one found both the sea and the land to be hospitable, and that one thrived, creeping upon the land and swimming in the sea.
And the one became many, and the many grew in size and variety and beauty, and in something not quite like knowledge, but rather in a sense of the difference between dry land and water. Moving, moving, always toward life, they found that streams flowed from the mountains to the sea, and they thrived in and alongside the streams, which came from the rain, which the sun raised from the sea.
The green things — spreading, growing, and growing more, always toward life — became broad and tall, and beckoned the creeping things to feast on their fruit. In time, the strongest of the creatures made claws to scale the trees, and some made wings out of their fins to soar over oceans and rivers and land . But even those who built nests and lived and bore their young in trees required water to survive, just as did the creatures who swam only in the sea.
And the dryland creatures became many, and the many grew in size and variety and beauty, and in something a little more like knowledge, until one arose from all the creatures who roamed the earth, and that one had knowledge and more; that one had understanding.
And the one became many, and the many grew in size and variety and strength and intelligence. But some of the people turned their intelligence toward small, inward things, and forgot about the sea, and with all their understanding, they did not know that they had come from the sea and required it to survive, just as did the creatures who swam only in the sea. They injured the streams, though they required them to survive. They injured the creatures who swam in the streams; they injured the air and the land and the sea; they blocked the sun — though they required all these things to survive.
In their minds, they forgot about the eternal sea, though their hearts remembered, and pulsed with admonition. And the people were uneasy, because they believed that their minds were more powerful than their hearts. And so they defied their hearts, and thus they injured even the streams that flowed through their bodies, pulsing from their hearts with admonition.
But in every age, among all the peoples, there have been those who have remembered the eternal sea, who have known that, where pure streams cannot flow, living things shrivel and perish, and where the mind is not nourished by the heart, the mind withers and is sterile.
Those who remember are the teachers and sages, the Wise Ones, the Ancients, the embodied admonitions of the heart’s pulsing. They say to us, swim, always, in the remembered pure streams that flow to the sea. Immerse yourself always in that awareness, which is prayer. When you drink clear water, know it as a ceremony and celebrate the eternal sea, which is something that we know of God. For prayer is to the spirit as water is to the body… and those who immerse themselves in prayer will be continually refreshed and renewed.
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—Hakuin (KOAN is a Japanese word “used in Zen Buddhism referring to enigmatic or paradoxical questions used by teachers to develop students’ intuition.” Hakuin Ekaku [白隠 慧鶴 Hakuin Ekaku, 1686-1769 or 1685-1768] was one of the most influential figures in Japanese Zen Buddhism. [Wikipedia])