“The human mind is like a tree with many monkeys in it, swinging continuously from one tree to another.” This ancient Eastern proverb points to the problem we all know, where just at the point when we settle down to be quiet and to think, those monkeys begin to leap about in thought with gay abandon, throwing out all kinds of distracting issues – to do lists, fears and worries, future plans and so on.
So how do we quiet those monkeys in order to experience a holy environment within which to rest and think, and to feel whole again?
It helps for a start to consider the many aspects of the word, “holy.” Is it a thing or a place? Do we have to be in that place, or own that thing in order to feel holiness? Is it a feeling? Do we need others around to experience holiness?
For many, experiencing the holy begins with the quiet discipline of prayer. And that is how it is for me. It is making oneself available to feel a deep spiritual peace. It is a yearning to feel connected to the divine. But it takes practice and discipline to be still and silent, especially in a world where constant talking and connecting seems to be the norm. This quiet listening with a loving and humble heart is a different kind of communication. It is an awakening to who we truly are – an awareness of something that is deeper and more profound than the tinny, vapid noise of the human mind.
Dr. Larry Dossey begins his book, “Prayer is good medicine,” with the statement, “Prayer is back!” He points out that many doctors are not only taking prayer with them to work, but also into the laboratories. More studies are being published regarding the effects of prayer on wellbeing than ever before.
19th century healer and writer Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, devoted an entire chapter to prayer in her groundbreaking book about health and healing, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. It is in this chapter that I found the answer to dealing with those swinging monkeys. She writes about Jesus’ teaching on prayer, and in one place expounds on a statement he makes in prefacing the “Lord’s Prayer,” which he gave to his disciples. She states, “In order to pray aright, we must enter into the closet and shut the door. We must close the lips and silence the material senses.”
Eddy’s chapter on Prayer ends with her interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer. This prayer, said quietly and thoughtfully, has often helped me as I have begun my quiet time with God. And it can also be a wonderful reassuring end to my holy moment with divine Love. Eddy’s experience and thought for this prayer was that it is a healing prayer for all ages, and I have discovered that for myself on many occasions.
The beautiful thing about experiencing these holy moments is that they are open to everyone, wherever they are in their life. Anyone can experience the ever-present embrace of divine Love. Prayer is the healthiest thing we can do in our day. It is free and open to all to practice – and it heals.