Where I stay in Jaipur I am circled by three mosques, or masjids as they are called here. Five times a day they call out to the faithful. They begin my day just before sunrise, and ahead of the day’s symphony of traffic noise. They close off my day as the sun fades and the cool of the night sets in.I love listening to the differences in the voices of the imams. Some sing the words like a tender love song, gentle and caressing. Others call out with passion and power. In Jaisalmer I heard one imam who sounded so young his voice was almost feminine.
I imagine what it must have been like in days long gone when they would have climbed their minarets to call out to the surrounding area. Now they have the luxury of microphones and loudspeakers, which is quite necessary to be heard in modern India.
As I listen now, though I do not know the words being spoken and sung, I have heard the core of what they are sharing. The imams are not just letting the faithful know that it is time to pray. They are also reminding all who choose to listen of their connection to God.
Prayer time in any religion has always been about this. It is time to set aside from the mundane routines of our life to reflect and connect with something much grander.
Sure this has shifted over time. We have allowed it to become other things such as penance, obedience and servitude. But beneath all that society has layered upon it, prayer time at its core is still about connecting with God.
So as I listened to the masjids around me call out I began to see the beauty of being reminded five times a day that I have a connection with God. Imagine that each day each of us stopped what we were doing to simply contemplate and reflect upon this. What if we just stopped and felt that love and majesty that we were born of.
I thought I had stopped praying years ago. It was part of my “I’m doing things the new energy way” journey. In truth I have just let prayer transform within me.
I don’t ask of anything outside of me anymore. (Though that is sooooo tempting some days!) I don’t believe that calling out some words will rescue or fix me. (Thought that would be great some days also!)
For me now prayer is time to commune with Soul. Soul is my God-self. That energy that is mine and mine alone. It was gifted to me by All That Is/God/The Universe or whatever name you want to give it.
Prayer is the place where Soul and I talk without the distractions of mind, without the voices of experience and society weighing in. It is safe and calm. It is loving and nurturing. We don’t even need words.
So now as I hear the call to prayer I am reminded to stop and breathe. My conscious breath is the bridge to this place that can be called prayer.
It can be for just a few breaths, a few minutes, or much more. Even a single breath can be enough.
I know that each time I choose to stop and connect consciously with this energy within me it is not just a re-connection, it is an expansion also. As I make this something I am willing to do from love and joy then the energies of this time will carry with me more and more between the times I consciously stop to do so. These energies become a natural part of who I am and my existence.
This is why we have always been called to prayer through the ages and across all religions. It has been a natural longing to make this connection and its energies richer and fuller within our lives.
The joy now for me is that I don’t need a time table or a special day…or even an app on my phone. (Yes they exist!) The moment I said to Soul that I was willing to allow it to express and play with me in life I awoke an inner calling.
It calls to me when I feel lost in my human ways. When I do not have the clarity for a solution.
It calls to me and reminds me to trust that which I was born of. To feel its endless love and allow that to open up in my life.
It calls to me like a love song and sometimes a lullaby. It can call to me with passion and grandeur.
It calls to me with a unique voice that is mine alone.
It calls me to me.