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. 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.
-John O’ Donohue, Eternal Echoes
“Do you ever get the feeling that you’re supposed to be someplace else?” said Melissa. She paused for a moment, perfectly still. “It’s a kind of sudden dread,” she said.
Her voice seemed to hover in the air for a moment.
I had been observing my breath for the last few hours on the polished undersurface of the ceiling: every time I exhaled, a mushroom-shaped fog would cover my reflection, and I found that I could control the size of this fog by adjusting the force and the speed of my breathing. When Melissa asked her question, the first I had heard from her in many days, I gave a sudden puff of air through my nose and two icicle-shaped blossoms appeared. Mitch Nauman whispered something into her ear, but his voice was no more than a murmur, and I could not make out the words. In a surge of emotion that I barely recognized, some strange combination of rivalry and adoration, I took her hand in my own and squeezed it. When nothing happened, I squeezed it again. I brought it to my chest, and I brought it to my mouth, and I kissed it and kneaded it and held it tight.
I was waiting to feel her return my touch, and I felt at that moment, felt with all my heart, that I could wait the whole life of the world for such a thing, until the earth and the sky met and locked and the distance between them closed forever.
-from “The Ceiling” by Kevin Brockmeier