Why We Pray That Way: Learning From My Daughter Part 3

by Ghani Kunto

I pray with the front of my neck stretched out, my face looking up at the sky.  Many of you pray this way too, I’m sure.  Both of my hands would be open, and with palms facing up, my arms are stretched up and out.

I used to wonder why I and many others prayed this way.  In a previous post, I thought it was like searching for God way out there, and I didn’t like to think of God that way.  Is it because when we pray, we ask for things?  The upward-facing palm position surely likened us to those beggars on the streets… and I didn’t like to think of my relationship with God in that way either.

Where is the seat of the soul?

How about the mind?

But where is our mind located?

I’m one of those people who believe that the mind is not something that’s confined in the tight spaces of our skull.  The mind is more than the combination of patterns of firing synapses.  We think with our whole body.  The state of our psyche affects the state of our physiology and the state of our physiology affects the state of our psyche.

I know, I’m inappropriately mixing up psyche, soul, and mind here, but bear with me.

When we’re angry, we clench our fists, and when we clench our fist in an angry manner, it’s easier for us to get angry.

So, the body remembers.

And, I think this body remembers this position—head looking high up, arms a bit high up—from when it was still the body of a child.  I look at my daughter and how she has to strain her neck all the time to look at me when she’s walking by my side.  I love her so much, and I know that she knows I love her, and maybe that position will in the future help her remember what it’s like to receive unconditional love.

And maybe, I pray in that position because that position reminds me of how it was to receive unconditional love from my parents.  I pray in that position because it helps my body sense, feel, and realize that I’m loved, accepted, and protected by something greater than myself.