|By: Paul S. Cilwa||Viewed: 9/24/2018
|Topics/Keywords: #Metaphysics #Spirituality #Prayer #HeartMeditation #Meditation||Page Views: 3358|
|Once one accepts that prayers do work, one them comes right up against this brick wall: They don't always seem to work. How can one improve the success ratio?|
I've written before about the "annoying power of prayer". Annoying, because the studies that proved prayer works offended both atheists and Christians. Atheists, because the studies showed that something they couldn't put in a jar seemed to exist; and Christians because the studies showed it didn't matter to whom one prayed: Prayers to Jesus were neither more or less effective than prayers to Buddha or Matthew McConaughey.
However, once one accepts that prayers do work—something that billions of people take as a given without a need for studies—one them comes right up against this brick wall: They don't always seem to work. Science likes repeatable phenomena, like the way a magnet always attracts iron filings, or the way a slice of bread always falls butter-side down. While it's nice to know that praying for the health of a cardiac patient improves his or her chances of recovery by 11%, wouldn't it be even nicer if we could goose the odds a bit? I mean, if we are going to spend time praying for something, we'd like to achieve at least a 90% success ratio.
In today's post, I offer some suggestions for praying more effectively. While I can't promise 90% success, I do propose that considering these ideas may prove helpful to you.
According to Wikipedia, specific forms of prayer may include praise, requesting guidance or assistance, confessing sins, as an act of reparation or an expression of one's thoughts and emotions. Surprisingly they left out the most common use of prayer: To ask for stuff. And the second most common: Praying for someone else.
When most people think of prayer, they think in terms of directing the prayerful thoughts outward. This is based on the culturally-supported lie that God is "out there" somewhere. The so-called "Lord's Prayer" itself says so:
Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name.
However, as I have previously pointed out, God is a multi-dimensional entity out of which all things arise. The way to "point" to anything existing in a continuum with more dimensions than found on Earth, is to point "within". I'll expand on this shortly. Meanwhile, let's examine the forms of prayer in light of God Within.
Personally, I find the idea that God, the maker and shaper of the Universe, will become petulant if not subjected to constant adoration, ghastly. Who does He think He is, Donald Trump?
However, in terms of praising God Within, prayers of praise have a certain use. As members of our culture, we are constantly bombarded by messages of inadequacy, ranging from songs ("Amazing grace, that saved a wretch like me") to TV commercials that imply our personal odors are offensive or our teeth not white enough. So, directing thoughts inward to the God Within and making positive statements such as "I am a powerful person" or "You are really terrific" can serve a beneficial purpose. It doesn't matter whether one thinks in first person ("I") or second ("you") because at the point at which we merge with God Within, all things are One anyway.
It's as valid to praise God Within for the sunrise or a well-turned omelet as it is to make simple affirmations ("Every day and in every way, I am better and better"). Either way the energy drawn from God Within is used to increase one's quantum frequency, which makes one happier, healthier and more effective.
What you don't want to do is throw that energy outward. That's the traditional religious view: Accept no credit; hurl it instead to an external god. This lowers one's frequency, making one less happy, healthy and effective—and more dependent on the religion, which is, of course, why they tell one to do it that way in the first place.
Requests for Guidance and Assistance
I'm not sure anyone thinks this kind of prayer doesn't work, though atheists would have explanations that don't involve any external, invisible force. Well, guess what: God Within is not external. But these requests, when directed to God Within, will result in answers more quickly than if you cast them out to the Universe.
The key here is to not make demands on what the guidance or assistance should look like. Think about this: If you already knew what to do, you'd have done it already. Prayers for assistance or guidance come about because what you've been trying, hasn't worked. So don't pray for verification that you were right all along!
The most effective technique is to hold a vision in your head of the desired result. You and your spouse, happy; the new house, paid for; the final exam, aced. Then move that vision to the God Within (usually feels to be at the bottom of the heart) and, if you wish, add a thought such as "It is so" or "Amen" (which comes from a Hebrew word that means "It is so"). Then, let it go.
You don't know what form the answer will take; so don't preconceive one. One of my favorite movie scenes is from Orgazmo in which the character Joe Young, a Mormon who needs $10,000 for his upcoming wedding, is offered $10,000 to appear in a porno film and prays for guidance: "If You don't want me to do this, just give me a sign." At that moment, an earthquake hits, shaking the apartment, throwing open the cabinet doors and causing pictures and items to crash to the floor. The moment it subsides, Joe continues: "Any sign at all."
God Within is within everything; so the answer can take any form at all, from a random phrase heard on the radio to a breeze or a thought that pops into your head. To succeed with these prayers, you have to keep yourself open to anything, because the solution you couldn't find before, has to be outside the box of solutions from which you normally draw.
And don't miss the possibility that the "answer" may be that the experience you are hoping for or wish to avoid, may have a purpose important enough to not be missed. For example, if you are praying that no one will discover you just embezzled $1 million from your boss, allow for the possibility that the best thing for you might actually be getting caught.
Confessing Sins and Making Reparations
"Sin" is a rather archaic concept. It generally refers to doing something your deity has forbidden, as defined by an intermediate (priest, rabbi or minister) who interprets those things—you know, the very people who stand most to gain if your guilt brings you into church (with your wallet) next Sunday. It's a far better idea to maintain the idea that your relationship with God carries its own definitions.
Such an offense is not really possible to the God Within, anyway. If God doesn't want you to leap into the air and fly, you simply can't. If it's possible for you to vote Republican, God Within doesn't care if you do. (You should care, but God Within has no interest in politics, because politics is outside you.) Remember, God Within, while your access to All That Is, can only assist in making changes to you.
It is permissible to pray for the wisdom of elected officials, as it is to pray for anyone's highest good. But don't pray for specific vote outcomes; instead, become an activist. God helps those who help themselves!
On the other hand, we can definitely make mistakes; and sometimes, even when there is no obvious immediate repercussion, we still feel guilt. We may have dated our best friend's boyfriend or gone off our diet or invented Nazism. We have an inner urge to make up for our lapse.
Believers in the traditional interpretation of karma say that we will eventually be "punished" for our sins or mistakes, if not in this lifetime, then in another one. But the God Within concept explains that it is our own guilt, rather than some universal law, that does the punishing. Relieving that guilt relaxes the karma debt.
A more contemporary view of karma is that its purpose is education or experience. If I choose to be a slave-holder in this lifetime, I must experience being a slave in another.
Still, we all have a sense of proportion. If I stole someone's car stereo, simply asking God Within for forgiveness is not likely to do the trick. I need to return the stereo to balance out the act. And if I can't return it (I have no idea who it was or where they live or it happened in some other lifetime) then I should turn myself in to the police. Our acts have consequences, and a prayer to avoid the consequences can only delay them at best.
In real life, a person who's read this far is unlikely to steal car stereos for a living. A "sin" for most of us is, "I didn't do my best today. I was lazy and I let things slide." In such a case, rather than asking for forgiveness, put things in a more positive light: "God Within, encourage me and give me energy so I can do my best tomorrow."
Expressing Thoughts And Emotions
This form of prayer is used by those devout persons who feel they are always in communication with God. Good for them! Because we are always in communication with God Within, even those who are unaware of it.
You will never have a thought that God Within doesn't share. You will never have a desire of which God Within is unaware. Listening to your own inner voice—which is God Within's anyway—is a way to become more aware and more connected to your inner self, and less seduced by your Ego.
Asking For Stuff
Finally, we come to the type of prayer most in use. People treat God (whether God Within or god up in heaven) like an online shopping cart. I want health, a new car (or even a used car so I can get to work). I want a job. I want my daily bread. Whatever.
Again, people often request specifics which prevent them from discovering they have what they really want (or, at least, what they really need…for their enlightenment). I may have asked for a car so I can get to work, when all I really need is a map of the local bus system. I may have asked for a boyfriend so I can be happy when all I really need is the realization that I can be perfectly happy on my own. I may have asked to recover from cancer so I can avoid facing my fear of death when all I really need is to realize that death is nothing to be afraid of and that it's okay to die—that I'll go on (because life is energy, and energy can never be destroyed—that's science)!
People are starting to realize that God, even God Within, is God of all; and that therefore we shouldn't ask for things that might diminish someone else. An obvious example is, "God, give me a more expensive car than my neighbors have" or "God, make me the most popular student in my school." An intermediate level of this, popular in the New Age movement, adds "For the highest good." Actually, even praying for an outcome "of the highest good" is blasphemous, since it assumes that an All-Beneficent God didn't have that in mind already.
Now, that said, there's nothing wrong with allowing God Within to provide us with anything we want. In fact, God wants us to have material riches as well as spiritual ones, as learning how to obtain them (without diminishing any others) is one of the purposes of reincarnating on Earth in this era. We are here to experience on God's behalf; and the experience of having a Hummer is as legitimate an experience as that of not having one.
The whole idea of the nobility of poverty was promoted by the early religions which were in the business of simply scamming ten percent of everyone's income. Why is it that it's the poor who support the likes of the Pope or Pat Robertson, who may then live like a king? —Better than some kings.
To whom does Pat Robertson tithe? I must assume himself, since he lives in a mansion that would make Queen Elizabeth envious.
But poverty comes from directing your creative, divine energy outward to an external god. When you direct that energy within, you'll find that you'll have what you need. Not necessarily everything you want, but everything you need.
And if you want a specific thing, use this technique: Picture it, envision it, in your possession now. The more vivid you can make this vision the faster it will manifest. Some say illuminating the vision in golden light helps, too.
Then—turn the vision over to God Within. Which is to say, let go of it, letting it get sucked into your Heart Chakra and into God Within. Then forget about it. Once you've ordered something from Amazon.com, you don't constantly fret over where in the shipping process it is, do you? If so, you are wasting a lot of energy. Just forget about it, confident that it is on its way.
Praying For Others
The studies I mentioned earlier were conducted on people who prayed for others who were sick. The people being prayed for did not know they were being prayed for. The pray-ers simply had the prayees' names on a list. A significant percentage of the prayees, compared to the control group for whom prayers were not said, recovered faster.
What about the others?
I would submit that, perhaps, they also benefitted, even if they didn't get better. Granted, the prayers were supposed to be "for a speedy recovery". But what if they'd been more general? What if the pray-ers had prayed for the patients' peace of mind, for their general health, or just for them?
The best prayers are context-free. As long as the prayer is not a selfish one, it actually sends Light (high frequency quantum particles) to the consciousness of the person, people or events being prayed for. In some cases, that additional energy can assist the person in coming to a realization about the spiritual/emotional situation that led to their discomfort or illness, and that can clear the way for them to heal themselves. In other cases, it can help them to more easily make the transition to the next level.
Either way, the Highest Good is being seen to, because these little diseases and deaths are really not significant, even to us, in the grand scheme of things. If you had chicken pox or mumps as a kid, how much do you now remember of it? If you'd been sick one day more or less would it have significantly impacted your life now? When a person is actually sick they tend to overestimate its overall importance, because they are focusing on nothing else. Afterwards, though, the experience tends to quickly recede. —And if the "afterwards" is on the "other side" the exact time of the transition still doesn't seem that important, because it was always going to happen anyway. (Quick, what day of the week did your great-great-grandfather die? What month? What year? He doesn't much care, either.)
Connecting With God Within
I've described this before and undoubtedly will again! —But this is the simplest technique I know of for identifying and strengthening the connection to God Within. Again, I repeat: That connection is always there and cannot be broken, any more than you can break the connection to your own blood. You literally arise into Earth's reality from the underlying substrate that is God Within. This exercise simply helps you become more mindful of the connection. It's called the Heart Meditation.
Find a place and time you can be free of distractions. Turn off your cell phone. Make yourself comfortable without falling asleep. Preferably do not cross your arms or legs. Plan on spending about 40 minutes on this.
Close your eyes. Take deep, slow breaths. Pay attention to the sensation of the air flowing through your nose, then into your lungs, then out again. Do this 12 times.
Note that your consciousness or ego seems to be located in your head, behind your eyes. Pull into that point. Imagine it shrinking, so that your body becomes enormous by comparison. In that point, direct it downward to your chest cavity. Locate your heart. Move your point of consciousness to the bottom of your beating heart.
Explore the area. You are feeling for a spot in which you feel LOVE. When you find it, it will not be subtle. There will be no question of whether you found it or not. When you find it, try to stay on it.
Some people find the sweet spot their first time. Others may require two or three attempts. Once you find it, you'll be able to find it more easily next time. Your goal is to be able to spend most of the 40 minutes right on the spot.
This is a meditation, and the same rules apply as to any meditation. Namely, you have not "failed" if extraneous thoughts come into your mind. Gently brush them away with the promise that you'll attend to them later. The act of brushing away extraneous thoughts is what meditation is about. You cannot fail to do this, as the most adept yogi has them! You can only "fail" by giving up.
Once you have found the sweet spot (the heart chakra) you will be amazed to discover how much more energy you will have the next day! And also, how differently people will relate to you: Strangers will smile, babies will reach to you to hold them. It's unmistakable, and your life will never be the same.
That said, this meditation needn't be done more than once a week (though I can't imagine any harm in doing it more often). But once a week is about right.