By Terry Shea
February 14, 2018
Posted In: Spiritual Wellness, White Rock
Page 178 of The Science of Mind…check it out! I have a friend who prays 5 times per day. It is common for him to say when we are together, “I’m going to take a moment to pray.” Then I watch him retreat to a private space within himself to pray. Within a minute or so, I wander off to do something to distract myself, but really, it’s more that I feel like an intruder in his private conversation. There was a time when I would have asked, “What are you praying for?” I don’t mean, why are you praying, though that would be a great question. My question really would have been, “What are you asking for? What do you want? What do you need?”
As I imagine myself asking that question, I can see a look of confusion wash over him and he tries to formulate the answer. In the end he is simply praying. Henri Nouwen refers to the practice of prayer as reaching out to our inner most self and not just to a detailed understanding of our inner complexities, but rather reaching a centre where a new encounter is possible; a meeting with a Self that is at peace, grateful and free and always has been. It is for that encounter that prayer is so necessary and explains the extraordinary claim of Dr. Holmes that prayer is essential to happiness. Prayer is essential to the conscious well-being of the soul.
My friend’s prayer is totally selfless and at the same time the fully embodied embrace of the Real Self, separate from the illusion of the ego’s desires and fears. To pick up on where we went at the Satsang last week, prayer is the encounter with the Real and the Truth of what we are, and in that context, it is the VERY answer we are seeking.
God is great! There is no God but God and… is his prophet
Going into prayer honestly with openness and no agenda makes us available to what is already present in us and in our life. It is a spiritual recognition and an understanding faith or conviction based in an Immutable Principle. Allah hu akbar. Illaha Il Allah!
We must have faith in ourselves: what we are, faith in our fellow humans and in the Universe, and in that which we call G-d. Our mind must be steady in the conviction that our life is some part of G-d and the Life that G-d is, is living through us and as us. Paul, in his letter to the Thessalonians, said ‘Pray without ceasing.” I was introduced to the practice of continual prayer while in the monastery. Strangely, the form of prayer is called hesychia in Greek, meaning rest or repose. To pray without ceasing is to be at rest.
St Theophane the Recluse gave this instruction for prayer:
“Make yourself a rule always to be with G-d, keeping your mind in your heart and do not let your thoughts wander; as often as they stray, turn them back again and keep them at home in the closet of your heart and delight in converse with the…”
When we begin to really live with prayer, we learn just how essential to our wellbeing it truly is. Whatever you are praying for, stop right now. What IT (that challenge, problem, issue, person) is about is NOT what it is about at all. The minute you pray from a place of full rather than empty you give a kick to the wheel that starts up the machinery of Life, sets it all in motion. Your prayer has been answered. The demonstration is a detail!!
Questions for Rev Terry? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org