Love and Reflections on Prayer
"Whatever I do, I do with the greatest love that I have in me."
Over the past few months I have learned how to pray. It's big news for me because I banned the word "pray" from my vocabulary for years and now I use it carefully.
I'm glad I had banned it because it's a word, like so many, that we can easily take for granted, misunderstand, and misuse. I didn't believe in prayer because I hadn't learned the true power of it. Now, I do not take the word for granted.
When something upsets us or is emotionally painful, there is value in removing it from our lives, especially when it's tainted with misunderstandings that are born in childhood. I did that with prayer. I've found that when I remove something from my life that upsets me, I have more space; space to breathe, space to not have to think about that thing if I don't want to, space to feel free for a moment and not forced, and then the space to reflect on the thing I had removed when I'm ready and I no longer have strong emotions about it. Prayer used to upset me because I didn't understand it.
Being ready to reflect on that thing we left behind is being conscious that, eventually, whether we like it or not, we have to deal with the things that bother us. We cannot keep pushing things away, because pushing away is not what brings us peace. We cannot keep pulling things towards us, because pulling is not what brings us peace. Pushing is not peace. Pulling is not peace. Then what is? Being is peace.
So, finally, after years of resistance and challenge, I'm learning how to be with prayer. So many people learn and know the power of prayer, but it took me time to learn and that's okay. From that I have experienced astounding joy that has brought me thankful tears over and over again.
In not understanding prayer, it was my own ignorance that prevented me from experiencing it fully. In the second section of the Patanjali's Yoga Sutra, he tells us that it is our own ignorance that causes misery in our lives. He isolates our ignorance and subsequent pain to five causes. Two of those causes are attraction and repulsion.
In other words, the things we like and are attracted to, and things we don't like and are repulsed by, both cause pain. What we are repulsed by has a strong hold on us, as strong of a hold as what we are attracted to. As we develop spiritually, those likes and dislikes lessen over time and with practice. A fully realized human, yogi, saint, sage, has done away with attraction and repulsion, likes and dislikes, and is free of them. No pushing, no pulling, just Being.
I am still learning and still processing, but I wanted to share what I have learned about prayer so far:
Prayer is not begging; it's a time to experience and express gratitude
Prayer is not for fulfilling selfish desires; it's for fulfilling spiritual growth which also benefits others exponentially
Prayer does not have to be made to the God defined by a said religion; it can be if one desires it to be
Prayer calls upon a higher power to be heard, this can be one's higher Self, a sage, a saint, an angel, the highest entity that we recognize, God, etc.
Prayer is always grateful for what is occurring, is not based on a linear timeline, and so how we use words and feeling in prayer defines the prayer
Prayer and doubt do not mix; we cannot pray and doubt at the same time as doubt instantly neutralizes the prayer
Prayer is not a wish or a hope, it's a recognition that we already have everything we need, even when it doesn't appear that we do
Prayer is a statement, through love and gratitude, that we are ready to see past what is blinding us
These are just my reflections as I sit and write to you today, minus some details that I may share sometime. If you have learned about prayer, please share with me. I'd love to hear about what you've learned!
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Photo Credit: Deb Dowd on Unsplash.com
Originally an e-mail sent to the CreativeEnergyYoga e-mail subscribers.