There’s a certain mental peace one finds while sitting on the prayer rug. Even after the prayer is finished and the dua has already been concluded, the boundaries of the prayer rug mark a sanctuary, a small space on this busy earth from where the noise, the chaos, and the tension of the world are held at bay. There you are free to stay in sajdah as long as you like, to place your face on the floor and whisper into the softness of the rug, “Here I am Allah.”
And if you happen to fall asleep that way, if the drowsiness from sleepless, worried nights catches up with you on the prayer rug, it’s alright. And if in sleeping, you forget the anxiety that had given way to nausea, and you find five or ten minutes of peace, that’s alright too. You’ll wake up in the same position you fell asleep in, and though your legs may be heavy and numb, your heart will be calm and your pain will have lost its edge.
The only drawback is that eventually, you have to get up. You have to brace yourself and step off of the prayer rug, back into life and the uncertainty that hounds it, back into family and the friction that inevitably results from the politics. Rising from the rug you must go back to work, back to the meaningless grind that nags and preoccupies.
And if in doing so, you find your mind taxed and your nerves frazzled, if you realize you are being driven deeper into distress and distraction than you ever thought possible, that’s alright. And if the world drives you to tears, that’s alright too, because the prayer rug is right where you left it, and its borders still mark the beginning of sanctuary that is always open. You’ll be free to stay as long as you like, to place your face on the floor and whisper into the softness of the rug, “Here I am Allah.”
(Results of the Sensei’s Rhyming Rumble will be announced in three days. ‘Till then, feel free to enter a submission. – Sensei)