People ask me all the time what they can do to help. I have a list of things that you can find here. But there are times when it seems like nothing I can possibly do on that list or any thing else help the world. I don't mean to sound pious, as if I spend all my days trying to figure out how to help--I don't.
But there are times when I become aware of so many things that seem to be going wrong and I feel powerless in the face of it all. At that moment, there seems like there is only one thing left I can do: I pray.
I know this might offend some people. It will offend some people because the idea that prayer is an answer to the world's problems sounds weak and overly supernatural. It will offend others because the idea that prayer is a last resort instead the first sounds like an error.
But I am not talking about what other people do or should do. I am not talking about how other people or even I should do things. I am just talking about what comes naturally to me.
When it seems like there is nothing left to do, I pray. And because I pray, I feel I am doing something that is, at least, better than nothing. There is always one thing left to do. And because I pray silently and privately, and because I know some other people do so too, I feel solidarity with them.
"Prayer" is just the way of talking about what I do from my own spiritual perspective. An agnostic or atheist, at that point, might simply hope or aspire. Perhaps a Buddhist would chant.
I know that I'm risking sounding like a crackpot to some people, that I'm taking the risk of sounding irrational. But here is the thing, I think we--meaning the human race--has come to depend too much on its rationality. We have come to worship our brains when what is best about us may be our heart. We imagine that intelligence is our highest function when, in fact, that status may belong to our compassion.
So I figure I should pray. Or hope. Or aspire. I'm not saying that I should stop doing everything else, but maybe there is something to the intentionality that comes when we privately aspire, through the function of our compassion, to do something great.
Anyone want to join in?
Colin Beavan (that's me!) is now leading a conversation about finding a happy, helpful life at Colinbeavan.com. If you want to know how people are breaking out and and finding authentic, meaningful lives that help our world, check it out the blog here and sign up to join the conversation here.