Saturday, October 08, 2011

Prayer, posture and tea

This is a photo of where I sat for morning prayer today, taken after I walked up the road, across the bridge and a few turns up the mountain road. Later in the day, I waded out to one of the rocks mid-river and sat, watching the water. It flowed like thick glass over the rocks; I was sure if I touched it, it would be solid. In other places it burbled like a spring, throwing up drops of water like popcorn, that danced and dazzled in the sunshine.

In the afternoon we visited the local tea teacher, who patiently and kindly led us through the tea ceremony. My knee will only let me briefly kneel in seiza position (back on your heels, with your big toes crossed and about 3" between your knees), and as a result I definitely felt out of kilter. It was awkward to bow, and harder to stay upright. I ended up sitting with my leg crossed, which isn't great for the knee either, but I couldn't figure out any other posture that would be remotely polite. Among other things I wondered about what we think of people in liturgical settings (and there are direct and deliberate parallels between the tea ceremony and Catholic liturgy) who are not in the "correct" posture. I can't genuflect for example, and so substitute a profound bow. How do (or even should) we read each other's posture in liturgy, and even in private prayer?

You can read the adventures of the whole crew here, it's hard to believe that tomorrow we will pack up the bus and make our way back to Kansai, with a short stop in Tokushima to have lunch and do any last shopping (we need another bag!).


  1. The photo at the top looks like places I have prayed in North Carolina and Guelph ONT.

  2. Rivers are a good spot for prayer, I will have to find the poem by O'Donohue abour rivers....