How big is the universe? How big is the mind? How big is the human heart? Modern reasoning would tell us that the first is the largest, and the third the smallest. Is it, though, or might we be bigger on the inside? All the “secrets of the universe” are there to be analysed, categorised, and conveniently packaged by the human mind, so the mind must be greater. Likewise, the ancient sages, who have known the human heart most fully, tell us that the first step of prayer or meditation is to bring the mind into the heart. So, at least in potential, the greatest space in all of nature is the very center of our own being. You’re really bigger on the inside – the inner world, your own heart!
King David, of early-ancient Israel, wrote in a hymn of praise, “You have set my heart in a large place,” and, “You have enlarged my heart.” In the speech of that day wisdom was seen as having a large heart. Today, a friend is someone who has given us their heart, and we, ours, to them. First of all, in doing this we give that friend the gift of space, of the possibility to be truly him- or her-self, and as our hearts enlarge we discover our place in the universe, and its place in us.
The Buddha gave us lessons on how to be more mindful of the workings of our hearts. Lao Tse taught that the Tao, the way to enlightenment is found in all places. Zen teaching tells us we find that road we have found its destination. Jesus said, “the kingdom of Heaven is within you.”
So, the inner road is greater than any outward avenue. It is also harder find. This is the greatest frustration of our day. We can find maps in drugstores, truck stops, and GPS apps on how to get from New Orleans to Timbuktu. Finding the Way which leads to this Inner Kingdom remains a mystery to most of us. It’s not for lack of information. All kinds of such is out there. It’s just too confusing for many of us, though, when so many people publish maps, and none of them seem to agree. Some tell us our true destiny is a “self-discovery” that means nothing but embracing our own passions. Some take it further, and make it about business success or finding “true love.” Passions are just “what happens.” “True love” most often means finding someone who is willing to affirm us as we are. No change, no growth, no progress.
The Tao of Prayer is a guidebook to help us find, and follow, the real Way. Where the sages agree, they’ve got something. Where others insert throw in own opinions they lead us on side-roads to nowhere. This book follows the path of agreement – not just in what the map looks like, but how to follow it. Kind of like an ancient Waze to spiritual fulfillment. After all, we’re bigger on the inside!