Praying to Crows


Prayer, in its most ancient and elemental sense, consists simply in speaking to things – to a maple grove, to a flock of crows, to the rising wind ….It is ….a way of holding oneself in right relation to the other, whether that other is a god outside the world or the many-voiced world itself.

 David Abram

I came to realize clearly that mind is no other than mountains and rivers and the great wide earth, the sun and the moon and the stars.

Zen Master Dogen

Crows speak over Yellow Springs before sunrise. They are the most faithful morning sky-talkers throughout the year. My voice lacks their clarity, however, and I am hesitant to respond out loud to their calls.

Some Trappist contempletives with whom I am acquainted emphasize waiting in prayer. Their practice of lectio divina (meditative reading of sacred texts) invites inspiration, insight and loving communion. The one who practices lectio stills his or her own voice listens for the voice of God.

Right relation to spirit in matter requests communication, allows conversation to begin. Master Dogen sets such a stage: if the mind is the world, then prayer is talking-in-being, and praying to crows or maple trees or the rising wind is a function of open presence.


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