Writing Can Be Prayerful — The information explosion and popularity of debates and talks in electronic media has perhaps reduced the art of writing to just another has-been activity. And yet, the more information we are exposed to, the more we are prone to introspection and reflection – which find sensitive expression in writing. We mull over things, integrate the lessons we have learnt from them, see the context in which they happened and finally use them to form a framework within which we operate.
Writing then becomes a kind of prayer, in which we come to understand ourselves better, learning, in the process, to change our attitudes and look for a deeper reality. Writing, as prayer, helps us know more about ourselves and progress on the spiritual path; it’s a prayer that reaches outwards in ever-growing concentric circles, becoming a way of relating our reality to God and to those around us.
Many seekers maintain a personal diary in which they sort themselves out by recording their daily experiences. The pace of life gathers momentum when these personal reflections lead us forward on the path to divine realisation. When we write, the writing turns into a dialogue with God.
All writing is expression of life. Great literature, poetry, art and science are not ends in themselves. When they continue to make a social impact, it is because they have touched a deeper chord in our existence.
Francis Thompson’s poem ‘The Hound of Heaven’ begins thus: “I fled him down the nights and down the days. I fled him down the arches of the years. I fled him down the labyrinthine ways of my own mind”. The poet seems to be wrestling with God. He transmits the experience of struggle and deeper longings of the heart to readers through verse.
One could argue that every human activity is prayer. But, in writing, we are plumbing the depths of human existence and at some point, whilst doing so, we inevitably meet with God. Writing can help make the mundane and the sacred meet. In writing we interpret our own experiences, dreams, successes and failings and by so doing we create a common language and a common ground, where sharing becomes possible.
Some of those writers who reject the notion of God often unconsciously express a longing for an unknown reality in their lives. Whether they deify ideology or try to equate a secular reality with God, the inner drive to find everlasting reality is still omnipresent. A seeker would most likely reserve special time for prayer that could take any one of the following forms: ritual, talking to God, satsang, the Eucharist or listening to a discourse. But when we write, we can go farther and create a worldwide network of prayer. Like the spider’s web connects the centre with the periphery, we also become part of a universal connected web of prayer. There have been instances when the combined prayers of several people have helped generate positive, healing energy.
Good writing propels thought and action. Faith as tiny as a mustard seed can move mountains. Similarly, heartfelt expression can create waves like sound waves, piercing the ether and spreading vibrations of peace and love.
Writing then can be a way of loving all creation. It can be a source of solace and support in difficult times. It can keep the flame of hope burning. It can rewrite and recreate for us, a world of human solidarity and love that overcomes the temptation to hate and violate, divide and destruct.