14. Prayer at Night
With closed eyes I sit in the temple of night, and worship Thee. The sunlight, revealing a million alluring things, has vanished. One by one I have closed the doors of my senses lest the fragrance of the rose or the song of the nightingale distract my love from Thee. I am alone in this dark, dark temple. I have left everything — but, where art Thou? Darkness is haunting; still, unafraid, I am groping, seeking, crying for Thee. Wilt Thou leave me alone? Come, show Thyself!
The door of my memory swings open. Throbbingly thrilled, my heart looks for Thee, but I find Thee not. Halt! Ye thronging, million thoughts and past experience: come not into my sacred temple! I close the bursting, thought‐pressed door and run everywhere to find Thee. Ah! Where art Thou?
Darkness deepens. As I sit silent, in anguish of despair, I behold a little taper of concentration burning within me. I stand up mentally, and madly rush through the dimly lighted temple. The farther I go, the deeper grows the gloom. I clasp the empty darkness in hope of seizing Thee. Finding Thee not, I return again, and see the taper dimly burning.
I sing outwardly a loud prayer. My large teardrops and my strong gusts of prayer almost extinguish the taper. I will pray no more with words, nor rush and run about in the temple of Stygian darkness, nor drown the taper with my tears. I will sit still, and command my breath to make no sound. I rebuke my boisterous love for Thee.
The taper of meditation burns brighter now.
O, how maddening! I cannot worship Thee with words, but only with wistful yearning. Brighter the light grows: I behold Thee now. Thou art I. I worship Thee.
As night hides everything, so will I worship Thee in hidden silence.
I am glad with the joy of all minds. I will use the screen of the night to hide myself from the tempting things of the day.
O Night, when I am worried, throw thy veil of silent darkness around me. Create a dark temple for me wherever I go, that I may invoke and call Him, whom I love, at any time, anywhere, everywhere!