Prayerful—An Excerpt from A Guru in the Guest Room

Swami and I have a prayer together every morning. It is for our own centering that we pray. Swami feels that being off-center is a bigger sin than almost anything else. He insists that we sit on folding chairs with our backs straight and our heads bowed. We let our hands hang loose in our laps.
Silence is the centering mechanism for both of us. It is like putting a level on a crooked picture. The silence levels the inner life right up because what is off-bubble is screaming for your attention. It feels like a brown shoe in a white shoe world. We look at the brown shoe and with focused energy on it, we breathe it out and let it go. We continue breathing until there are only white shoes left. Don’t take this too literally since Swami usually wears slippers.

As we sit in silence together, I feel the love that Swami exudes with every breath he takes. This tiny man has the biggest heart of anyone I know. How I drew him to me is the biggest mystery of all. The silence extends into the other rooms of the house. Our bedrooms, the hall, kitchen and living room are touched by the soundlessness arising from within our hearts. My heart is not as big as Swami’s, but it is beating in harmony with his. That gives me hope and the knowledge that for everything there is a season.

Swami’s silliness over celebrity is just another game for the old man. He knows how radically all who love him are changed. It is nothing that he does, of course. You know this, by now. It is what he is that changes people. When we stand up, we hear our bodies creaking. Swami is the first to break the silence. “Well, Vicki,” he says with vim, vigor and vitality, “let’s eat!” I head for the kitchen, knowing that the cinnamon rolls are begging to be buttered. I can hardly wait.
P.S. For those of you who don’t know or keep forgetting, Swami is a fictional character and I take no responsibility for what he does when I am off duty. If he gets under your skin or into your heart, don’t tell me—tell him. Talk about a guru throwing you back on yourself.

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