Prayer: Unintended Benefits
During recovery week, I had an epiphany: just as prayer rejuvenates the soul, it also rejuvenates the body. While standing still with my feet flat on the floor, shoulder width apart, hands folded right over left across my chest, and face forward in the direction of Mekkah, I felt every muscle in my body focused in peace. Usually, I do not notice these fibers of movement in focus. Usually standing feels effortless. However, after my trail race, everything hurt. Standing involved the enlistment of legions of muscle cells. Bowing commanded the attendance of the reserve. Standing back up again called for exponentially more. Prostrating put others to action, and most to rest. Sitting stretched and relaxed bundles of cells, concluding the prayer, and rebuilding the broken.
In experiencing each action so effort-fully, I felt a sense of focus from the macro to the micro levels. I felt my muscles strengthen with each prayer, from dawn to dusk, and night to day. While I do not usually stretch before, during, or after a run, I realized that 5 times a day, my stretching needs are divinely fulfilled. In my conversations with God, when I stand in attention, bend down in half, and fold myself to the ground, praying for spiritual rejuvenation, God grants me physical rejuvenation, too.