Prayer is our one link with the real 
– if by ‘prayer’ we mean simply an attention 
both extreme and careless of any result, 
an attention so pure that the one who practises it 
is not even aware of doing so
~ Christian Bobin


The other day, I found the old, beautifully handmade prayer book of my grandmother, and skimmed through it. Prayer has always been to me something of a difficulty and I think the time has come to seriously address it. I’m intending to share prayers on this blog, making it the subject of a new category. 

There seems to be two habitual ways of praying. The main one is to beg, implore, request – positively or negatively, asking for something objective, however refined this object can be. The second way is devotional, contemplative, but often turns out to be a repetitive, compelled form of recitation. Both forms are unsatisfactory, ranging from being naive, belief-based, self-concerned, to just lacking efficacy. 

A good prayer is a totally non-objective one, at least in spirit if not in words. Rupert Spira says: “The turning of the mind away from the objective content of experience towards the source or essence from which it has arisen is the essence of meditation or prayer.” And Meister Eckhart says nothing different when stressing that the most powerful form of prayer is “the outcome of a quiet mind” or “a pure going out of what is our own.” And such a mind, in his own words is one that “is forever immersed in God’s most precious will, having left its own.” A prayer is an invitation to rest or abide in what is most essential in our being, and in that it can be equated with meditation, which is originally the Hindu or Buddhist form of prayer, or with the koan of zen. 

A prayer comes from the heart, and points to something that is beyond words and meaning. Its only function is to throw you back to yourself, to silence. It must be devoid of demands, which can only be objective and an expression of separation. In prayer, the result precedes the wish. Rupert Spira sums it up in a beautiful way: “Let what you become be an expression of the source.” Love is all, and love is prayer.


In the existence of your love, 
I become non-existent. 
This non-existence linked to you 
is better than anything 
I ever found in existence.

~ Rumi



Here is a beautiful prayer that I heard from Francis Bennett. It was originally composed by John Henry Newman, a 19th century poet and theologian, and is known as the ‘Fragrance Prayer’:

Dear Presence so divine 
Help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with Your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly,
That my life may only be a radiance of Yours.
Shine through me, and be so in me 
That every soul I come in contact with 
May feel your presence in my soul 
Let them look up and see no longer me, but only You!

Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine,
So to shine as to be a light to others;
The light, O Lord, will be all from You; none of it will be mine;
It will be you, shining on others through me.

Let me thus praise You the way You love best, by shining on those around me.
Let me preach You without preaching, not by words but by my example,
By the catching force of the sympathetic influence of what I do,
The evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You.




Introductory text and photo by Alain Joly

Prayer by John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
(Adapted by Francis Bennett)



This article is the first that appears in a new category called ‘Fragrance of Love’. This is the place to share a prayer or meditation – this fragrance of ourselves – as the main feature.

The Quiet Mind
– Watch Francis Bennett’s video on YouTube: Integrating Humanity with Divinity, a Science and Nonduality Conference…

– ‘Conversations with Meister Eckhart’ – by Meister Eckhart & Simon Parke – (White Crow Books Ltd)
– ‘The Very Lowly: A Meditation on Francis of Assisi’ – by Christian Bobin – (New Seeds)

John Henry Newman (Wikipedia)
Francis Bennett (finding grace at the center)
Rupert Spira
Meister Eckhart (Wikipedia)
Rumi (Wikipedia)
Christian Bobin (Wikipedia)


Le carillon de Bénarès

I’m sharing here a new page for the people speaking French only. If you are bilingual, you can check it too, since a few articles have not been shared on the main blog in English…

Voici une nouvelle page de la section En Français, où textes, poésies, citations vous sont proposés comme autant de mises en abîme de l’Être. Voici l’une d’elles:


A Bénarès, il est une rue qui descend doucement en serpentant,
Une artère où se répète chaque jour un événement extraordinaire.
Le soir venu, à l’heure où la nuit se pose, où la lumière des échoppes
Fait briller bracelets, pans de soie, et ustensiles,
Les habitants de la cité rentrent chez eux, empruntant
Les nombreux rickshaws qui descendent le long de cette avenue.
Les vélo-rickshaws de Bénarès ont une particularité étonnante,
Une sonnette placée sur la roue qui, par l’effet des rayons venant la frapper,
Produit quand on l’active une sonnerie continue et harmonieuse.
Du flot incessant des conducteurs de rickshaws avertissant de leur présence
Se répandait alors un carillon qui inondait la nuit de sa pureté,
Et remplissait la rue d’une atmosphère sonore féerique à nulle autre pareille.
Là, dans cette rue tout près du Gange sacré,
Des hommes simples, parmi les plus pauvres,
Nous offraient par le simple fait de pédaler
Une nuée de sons, cascades et tintinnabulements,
Composant une symphonie
Dont la splendeur ravive encore aujourd’hui ma mémoire endormie.
La musique céleste des rickshaws-wallahs de Bénarès.



Texte et photo de Alain Joly



Les autres articles présentés :
– ‘Prompt comme l’oiseau’ (texte court)
– ‘La solitude de l’Être’ (citations)
– ‘Les passants de l’abîme’ (poésie)

Quatre mises en abîme de l’Être… (LIRE LA SUITE)


The Whirling World


A secret turning in us
makes the universe turn.
Head unaware of feet,
and feet head. Neither cares.
They keep turning.”

~ Rumi


“What is the significance of this dance? See that if you experiment yourself, turning and turning around in circles, you may realize that it is the world that rotates while you stand still. Here, in our center, and for ever, is the Immobility. When Rumi turned and turned, he must have seen around him the trees, the ground, his disciples, the sun, the moon and the stars. He must have seen his body, his arms stretched out, his feet, all moving. But closer than that, there was Immobility, Silence, Peace. While he was turning and turning, while he let go of the turning world, his sense of oneness with the Source probably got deeper. The depth, the jewel and the mystery of Immobility must have swallowed him and washed him wave after wave. In this Ocean of Love where he drowned, he dissolved until only the Ocean remained. While Immobility lies in the center of the whirling world, without anything that neither comes nor goes, like a rock that is always present and sure, joy sprung forth everywhere around, and so did the ecstasy of the dance. In the midst of the fuzzy world, spinning again and again, he had capitulated, drunk with the beauty, the wisdom and the love of the Beloved.”



Text by Ergin Ergül – ‘La sagesse de Rumi’
(Translated from French by Alain Joly)

Painting from Iranien artist Hossein Irandoust



– ‘365 Days With Rûmî’ – Ergin Ergül

– Rumi (Wikipedia)


Other articles from the same category ‘Shreds of Infinity



Suffering Leads to Joy

This is the first of a series of texts or essays that will be presented in the future. Different subjects of spiritual interest will be explored in turn. Writing this text started with answering a simple question: ‘How did it all begin for me?’…


“Come, come, whoever you are.
Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn’t matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times.
Come, yet again, come! come!”

~ Rumi


How did it all begin for me? This. This deep interest in finding out what life is about. This love of Truth. This spiritual search. In what cradle did it come to existence, in what fertile soil did it come to grow? I remember how acute the desire for change was as a young man. For this was all there was to it at the time. A big, raw, sincere desire to change, to be different. I was unhappy, dissatisfied with what I was. Surely it was the first seed, the primary cause of this journey. The path leading to that change in myself I had no idea about. I had to feel my way along, through random books, exotic places. Except for one intuition though, that there was something more to life than finding happiness solely through acquisitions, through changing the person that I happened to be. Otherwise I would have gone for it in a more acute way. Instead, I turned towards some kind of spiritual call, knowing nothing of it. I rushed into a tunnel of unknowing.

An essay on the subject of suffering. (READ MORE…)