As soon as the man is one with God, he will not beg.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

At St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome,
I fell to my knees
my palms face down
my forehead between them,
and let my tears pool
on the green-veined marble floor.
My grey summer dress spread
around me like a cathedral bell.
I did not believe in any God,
but something inside, something
I recognized, believed in me.

True prayer is not blind faith.
It asks for nothing outside itself.
No separate God to save us,
no deity or supreme being
to soften the way, to heal,
to weigh itself under confession.

True prayer is a turning inward,
a knowing that God is the substance
of all consciousness,
that even air is part of God.

True prayer is an empty mind,
the space beyond conditioning or belief,
that pinprick of light inside us all,
patient and waiting only for itself.

True prayer is a responsibility,
where suffering and unrequited desires
melt like ice under flame
when one ceases soliciting from God.

True prayer is the sanctuary of awareness,
the knowing that I am both the prayer
and the answer to my prayer.

St. Peter's Basilica in Rome