A cool thing about prayer

May 18, 2106-I sent this in my Museletter today. If you don’t receive it, you might like to sign up.

The artist deals with what cannot be said in words. The artist whose medium is fiction does this in words. The novelist says in words what cannot be said in words.

Ursula LeGuin (Introduction to Left Hand of Darkness)

The quote above by LeGuin is why I hold fiction writers in the highest regard. Since Creativity Unzipped is at the press, I’m now trying my hand at a spiritual memoir, written as creative non-fiction, which means it has all the elements of fiction: dialog, scenes, narrative arc, conflict, resolution, etc. I started at age 12 when Sr. Helen Charles changed me from a caterpillar to a butterfly with her “positive reinforcement.” It was a newfangled idea back then. (Note the language: I thought it happened to me).

Templeton Foundation was offering a grant to writers who use creative non-fiction to bring science and religion closer together. Of course I applied for one, since my spirituality is massively informed by science. I am in awe everyday because of what science delivers to my doorstep. I fall down on my knees at NASA’s images, explorations into dark matter, at the physicists’ revelations of how we turn thought to matter. Catholicism bred into me a love of awe that is now cellular and beyond logic (like why do I go to youtube to watch a video of Benediction with people singing Holy God when I have intellectually abandoned the notion of a personal heavenly Deity?)


Thank God (see what I mean??) I believe with Baudelaire that true genius is the ability to hold two contradictory thoughts in one’s mind at the same time. I am a spiritual athlete, in training to go beyond duality. I practice by thinking what would be good about a Trump presidency and what would be bad about one. Same with Hillary and Bernie. During the process, I remain neutral, at peace. I am rewiring my brain. I am using my brain to calm my being. And while I find myself watching more and more news, my ability to remain calm is growing daily.

I learned from an article by neuroscientist Andrew Newberg in Scientific American that scientists have found two sources to the power of prayer. One, people interpret prayer as social interaction and social interactions promote cognitive functioning. We FEEL better after social interactions, and therefore feel better after prayer. Another scientist used brain scans to discover that during prayer our parietal lobes go dark. The parietal lobes are where we feel our sense of self and they disappear when we are in a state of oneness. So we actually FEEL what it’s like to be one with. Amazing, right? Not only does prayer/meditation help us sculpt our brains and rewire them to be healthier organs that serve us so we’re more creative, more spiritually evolved, more joyful and awake, these activities simultaneously improve our immune systems. It’s incredible.