In prayer, we come nearest to making a real clearance in the thicket of thought. Prayer takes thought to a place of stillness.
Prayer slows the flow of the mind until we can begin to see with a new tranquility. In this kind of thought, we become conscious of our divine belonging.
Madonna, Fra Filippo Lippi (1406-1469)
We begin to sense the serenity of this clearing. We learn that regardless of the fragmentation and turbulence in so many regions of our lives, there is a place in the soul where the voices and prodding of the world never reach.
It is almost like the image of the tree. The branches can sway and quiver in the wind, the center of the tree, there pertains the stillness of its anchorage.
In prayer, thought returns to its origin in the infinite. Attuned to its origin, thought reaches below its own netting. In this way prayer liberates thought from the small rooms where fear and need confine it.
Despite all the negative talk about God, the Divine still remains the one space where thought can become free. There we will be liberated from the repetitive echoes of our own smallness and blindness... Prayer is the path to the secret belonging at the heart of our other lives.
by John O'Donohue, from Eternal Echoes