Everything in this phenomenal world has at least one thing in common: it all had a beginning, and it all will come to an end. The length of time, as we measure it, between beginning and end may be fractions of a second or millions of years, yet every form of physical life has a beginning and an end. Within the experience of a human lifetime, we have innumerable beginnings and endings. Every breath, every activity, every relationship has a beginning and an end. Our physical body had a beginning, and it will have an end. Each beginning is a type of birth, each ending a type of death.
“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time’ is to say ‘I don’t want to.’”—Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher and author of the Tao De Ching
In saying time is a created thing, Lao Tzu is referring to metaphysical reality—a state of being where there is no time. Everything is unlimited and possible. Metaphysical reality is about dreams, visions, intentions, and goals. But for these to happen, we must ground them in our physical reality or else we are “metafizzling,” as the great psychologist and coach Maria Nemeth says. This means using the energy of time to manifest our dreams.
For thousands of years, humanity has believed prayer is something we do, but this is not true. If prayer is an experience of God's presence and it comes through grace, prayer is what God does. We practice; God perfects. We wait, God lifts.
While we wait, we learn humility, compassion, nonresistance, patience, acceptance, and self-love. These are the qualities we value most in other people and in the world. We may strive to live this way and express these qualities, but we fail. We fail because these qualities cannot live in the world until they live in us.
Minute prayers are possible for anyone to practice. No matter where you are, you can call upon the presence of God. Take that minute, in spite of anything, in the midst of anything, regardless of the place or circumstance.
Take a minute before getting out of bed in the morning. During morning activities, every so often stop for another minute. Quiet your thoughts, anxieties, rushed feelings, and again feel yourself enfolded in the presence of God. Everything that seemed so pressing will become secondary. An awareness of being in control will fill you and you will go forward with order and confidence.
I have resisted change with all my will,
Cried out to life, “Pass by and leave me still.”
But I have found as I have trudged time's track
That all my wishing will not hold life back.
All finite things must go their finite way;
I cannot bid the merest moment, “Stay.”
So finding that I have no power to change
Change, I have changed myself. And this is strange,
But I have found out when I let change come,
The very change that I was fleeing from
Has often held the good I had prayed for,
And I was not the less for change, but more.
Once I accepted life and was not loath
To change, I found change was the seed of growth.