Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Right Thing To Do

I am reading and came across this sentence, when a rabbi stops to give prayer: "Maimonides forced himself to include a prayer for those among the Frankish army destined to die as well, but his heart was not in it." That got me thinking...

He did it as a man and a holy man at that, because it was the right thing to do. But, if his heart wasn't in it, does it still make it good...a prayer...just? And, if a holy man can pray without his heart in it, what chance do I, a regular slob have, at making a prayer count?!

We've all been in similar situations....when we ask for Spirit's help or attention to something or on someone and done so when we don't like the person. Or, the situations is not what we think correct. It's only the right thing to do.... Is it?

Is a prayer less-than or ineffectual if our hearts aren't really in it? If, as Human Beings, our emotions or patterns of thought set us in judgment of another...or we just can't help but turn our heads away from the nastiness of a situation?

Like, when we hear someone receiving the death sentence in punishment of a heinous crime they committed, don't we say, "No less than they deserved and God forgive them!" It's a prayer when you read it, but depending on how it was uttered, it's more of a judgment against them. And was our heart really in it? Most likely not, because what we really should say is, "And God forgive them because I won't or can't!" Is it prayer as we feel shed of such an evil in the world?

So, is prayer really prayer when our heart's not in it?

Some think all life is a prayer, all breath is a prayer, simply a thought toward God is a prayer. Attempting to walk in the Light and do no active harm is prayer. Some say it's the true desire to do right that makes something prayer. And, maybe, when you ponder how complex and twisted we can be in our thinking... How strong our egos are that can get in the way at times...

...perhaps Spirit knows this and built in a safety valve for those times when our thoughts, our ego, gets in the way of our prayers?

There was a monk, who had an interesting life, who was troubled emotionally...whose writings were complex...who gives me hope. For I know he was/is, without question, a holy man and yet very flawed, so perhaps things can be the same for me?

Among his great writings, most to complicated for the average person to really sit with comfortably, he left this simple prayer:

My Lord God~
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that my desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

~Thomas Merton (1915-1968)

In his prayer, Merton says best for me what I wonder about, is doing the right thing, even when your heart's not in it, the right thing? I believe, yes. Yes it is. Yes, the right thing is the right thing. If we do the right thing most often, eventually our heart will follow.

As we make our attempts, our hearts may not always be in the action but doing the right thing for and to another is just. Is always prayer. Perhaps imperfect, but as Human Beings, we are imperfect. And, it's sometimes the best we can do. Spirit loves us for our efforts. After all, it's only the right thing to do...

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Is More Than Imperfect


Eva Gallant said...

A very thought-provoking post.

joyce said...

T the end, when you say even if your hearts not in it, keep doing it an the rest will follow, reminds me of something I have been told by different "professionals"...namely, even if you're not happy, act happy, and true happiness will follow. Its true, so I suspect your thoughts may also ring true.
Reading your posts is like reading an inspirational story each day, thank you

SCJ Jewelry Design said...

"If we do the right thing most often, eventually our heart will follow."
This statement touches my heart and is exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you for today's insightful post. - Sandy

miss*R said...

brilliant post.

Thomas Merton - troubled emotionally.. seems I am in great company :)

Joanna Jenkins said...

I've been thinking about this post for a full 24 hours before I commented. It's fabulous, Holly.
In the end, I agree, if we do the best we can that's all anyone can ask for.
xo jj

Cinner said...

I agree that all we can try to do is to do our best, I wish I never had any doubts....I think through our trials and errors we make it there and become more and more spiritual as we conquer what we go through. I just keep believing. great post Holly. hugs.

Tery Lynne said...

Very good post, but if his heart wasn't in it he wouldn't of done the act to begin with.

Kathy said...

For years our family motto has been "Do the right thing." Very often it is difficult to know what that is. Sometimes the person I wanted to help needed to do the thing on their own. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

flowers1 said...

Really liked this article and all the thought behind it. Merton's quote says it all.

spottedwolf said...

We have to try to wear the "shoes of the fisherman" Holly. By the act of 'trying' we learn to beseech whatever the idea is....whether we agree wholeheartedly or not can alter through more experiences. Judge the act....not the man for he was once a child and what he learned to do to others was some way...taught to him by his environs.

Pray for the man's soul if you like....he's already living his 'hell'.

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