I wrote this prayer in a book a long time ago. Then promptly forgot about it. But recently I was reconnected to it and found myself wondering why I don’t start off every day with it. I have refashioned it so that it is more germane to my daily life:
"God, today help me set aside everything I think I know about you, everything I think I know about myself, everything I think I know about others, and everything I think I know about my own recovery so I may have an open mind and a new experience with all these things. Please help me see the truth."
I realize, with increasing clarity, that I need help setting aside things that I think I know. Things that I think in general. Because these things I think, become reality for me. And that is the biggest con ever perpetuated on a soul. This idea that we KNOW things. I FEEL a lot of things. I THINK a lot of things. But I KNOW very little. See these thoughts and feelings get in the way of knowledge. They cloud and color and corrode my perspective. So this set aside prayer helps me greatly to remember that I do not know, except when I absolutely insist that I do.
I do not understand God, or myself, or you (the collective and individual you is super hard to understand). So I need be reminded, and I am in ways that are acutely painful, that I do not know much of anything at all. And the exact moment that my mind locks in on something, is the exact moment all of my growth stops because I KNOW something...which I really don’t.
So I have begun using this prayer to start my day, throughout my day and at day’s end. To help me remember that I feel and think lots of things but know very little. And just remembering that, helps.
I am in my way, a lot. Most of us are. Interfering with our progress and growth by insisting that we have this down, or are not doing whatever we are doing because of some little fact or tidbit that passes as knowledge. And for most of my life, knowledge, truth, is covered up and over by feelings and thinking, most of the time, things that I know nothing about really.
Learning to see how I feel, leads to what I think, that nexus between the two at first blush appears to give rise to knowledge but today I can see that it really doesn’t. It is where the story begins that I accept as knowledge.
So the Set Aside Prayer comes in handy for me, to have a new experience with my old self, while a new self grows in the shade of my current self. My only real job is to set aside this arrogant twinge of self knowledge so that something other than what I think or feel can happen in my life and in the lives of others.
I know with absolute certainty, that I am here today doing what I am doing because I was led here. I do not have to worry about whether it is right or good or what I am supposed to be doing, I am here and so this is where I am. It isn’t supposed to be different. It isn’t supposed to be something else. It is just this life right here, unfolding, day by day, moment by moment. And when I can set aside my thoughts and feelings, I get to have a new experience of myself, of you, of God, of life.
And that feels pretty amazing to be untethered from my inner critic and decider. She has done a great job so far of fucking things up with all her deciding, so much better to be in a place of “I don’t know mind” and allow whatever is to come to come and ride the tides of my feelings and thoughts with an undercurrent of “let’s just see what happens...”
And while that is a bit nerve wracking in itself, it is limitless, infinite and vast, which is terrifying to a control freak like me. But, in the moments that I have been able to just relax and enjoy the journey, so much of my life takes unexpected turns toward the Divine, towards intimacy and love and authenticity. And I am changed. I am, in fact, set aside, and grown new into someone that I love more deeply, honestly and tenderly. And then, I am able to take those skills and give them away to those I encounter and share my life with...
Pretty fucking cool...so I begin this day with my new practice of setting aside. And I immediately feel the relief of the burden of myself and all that I think I know.