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Word Gems 

exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity


 

Editor's 1-Minute Essay: 

Prayer

 


 

return to "Prayer" main-page

 

 

"Pray without ceasing" - the apostle Paul 

 

 


"If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I'd do. I'd go out into a
great big field all alone
or in the deep, deep woods and I'd look up
into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky that looks as if
there was no end to its blueness. And then I'd just feel a prayer.” 

                                                                Anne of Green Gables

 

 

 prayer has two meanings

The discussion of prayer divides the topic into two broad definitions:

(1) prayer as petitioning, asking, a pleading for desires and wishes to be fulfilled; the emphasis is on human need, that which is lacking.

(2) prayer as state of mind, awareness, a perception of Divinity’s presence and involvement in one’s life; this view of prayer becomes a virtual state of consciousness, a silent, wordless accessing of Universal Intelligence and Love; allowing us and helping us to receive what it is that God would have us to receive.

Prayer-as-asking will express itself in a wide continuum concerning the “cares of this world”; from the gross materialism of Joplin's “buy me a Mercedes” (see the main-page of quotes) to the basic requirements of maintaining life, help for finding a job, mate, or securing better health. Also included here are “beseechings” and “supplications” for imagined spiritual needs such as God’s forgiveness, mercy, pardon, and the like; however, as Father Benson informs us, God never judges or punishes us, cannot be offended, and therefore has no mercy to give.

 

 

Editor's note:

Christian minister Malcolm Smith, in one of his taped sermons, offers valuable understanding about the dysfunctional modern "churchianity" view of prayer.

we beat on our drums to get god's attention

In his younger years, Malcolm spent time in Africa as a missionary. In one of the villages, he encountered a great deal of drum-beating and wild dancing. He asked the village elders what all the commotion was about. Their response went something like:

"We're trying to get the attention of our gods. We know they don't like us very much, and don't really care about our situation. So we beat our drums and do our dances to flatter the gods, to worship and praise them, so that they'll take notice of us and maybe help us."

 

 

Is this not a sad state of affairs? How thoroughly pagan - like a child whining and fretting, tugging on the skirt of Mummy to force her attention. But we should not haughtily feel superior to the primitives; you may already have discerned Malcolm's point - how similar is the modern Church's viewpoint of prayer.

Most people can't just walk in a field and silently commune with Divine Intelligence and know that all is well in hand; ready to receive whatever it is that God would have receive. Instead, we have to "beat our drums," "bang our pots," and "do our dances" by contacting many others to pray for our need, sending out a prayer-bulletin, by engaging in complicated formularies of masses, prayer sessions, fastings, hosannas and hallelujahs, praise-worship-flattery, pilgrimages, deal-making with heaven, vows, giving money, sending in Mary to convince the angry Father - all designed to "get the attention" of a god whom we believe doesn't really like us all that much.

standing in line to be heard

This pagan god is as charming as the woman in Frank and Nancy Sinatra's song, Something Stupid, who disdains terms of endearment, contemptuously makes her petitioner stand-in-line until she deigns to "spend an evening with me," but, even when his prayers are answered and they "go dancing," he knows that "she might not be leaving with me," so fickle is she that he could be ignored and replaced that very evening! but, if he puts up with this kind of insult, he needs to think about his own neediness which is underwriting and allowing this disrespect - and then cut his losses, and her presence, from his life, and to do this quickly.

you will not be heard for your much speaking

How thoroughly pagan is all this drum-beating and pot-banging; and how contrary to simple and plain New Testament teaching of "Do not think that you will be heard for your much speaking"; or the apostle Paul's advice of "Let your simple yes be yes and your no be no," with no need for embellishment.

 

 

Prayer as state of consciousness is promoted by many of the great souls, such as Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Meister Eckhart, Lucy Montgomery, John Bunyan, Amit Ray, Francis of Assisi, Eben Alexander, and so many others; the most notable among which, I think, is the apostle Paul with his famous advice to “pray without ceasing” delivering “the peace which passes all understanding.”

Some of the featured quotations (on the main-page) are humorous, but widely divergent of wisdom. Comedian George Carlin made me laugh with his outrageous “I pray to Joe Pesci, he knows how to get things done, even a couple things God had trouble with.” Joe’s brutality, indeed, did get things done with Evil's "efficient" ways; for example, in a movie as enforcer of Las Vegas magnate Robert De Niro, but it also got Joe bludgeoned with a pipe-wrench and buried alive in a cornfield. George failed to mention that little part on Joe's effectiveness.

 

we all need things right now; however...

There’s nothing wrong with prayer-as-asking. We all need things during our present time of mortality and vulnerability. But in our asking let us avoid the ego-driven needy state of mind, that of “not being enough.”

 

"gimmee, gimmee, I need, I need, I need"

 

Eckhart Tolle’s instruction of “the art of presence” – that is, accessing the inner, true self linked to Universal Abundance - is another way, a very good way, of talking about prayer as a state of consciousness.

 

When we live in Summerland, prayer-as-asking for material blessings will become passé. In that day, prayer-as-consciousness will take center-stage; for some, it already has, and well that it should.

Living in an awareness of God is part of our eternal home. As Anne wisely suggests, we need to feel a prayer, and when we learn how, we can, in this manner, "pray without ceasing."

The following is the first point of evidence featured on the "Afterlife" page. I include it here as it involved "praying" as part of the experiment:

 

#1 Dr. Gary Schwartz: detecting the presence of light-radiating Spirit-entities in a biophoton laboratory.

The following experiment, conducted by Professor Gary Schwartz, University of Arizona, is elegant in its simplicity, easy to understand, yet offers some of the most potent empirical evidence for the existence of an afterlife.

"What happened next I witnessed with my own two eyes. In watching hundreds of hours of outputs, I rarely saw photon sums above 50-75. I was now seeing a 173-unit photon, and it occurred shortly after I had [silently] asked [invisible Spirit entities] to make a big [display of light]."

READ MORE

 

 

immature prayer is a form of "choice," the dysfunctional gimmee-gimmee; but the advanced person no longer "chooses" at all, but instead atunes oneself with Universal Intelligence, thereby allowing "the answer" simply to come

On the "Reincarnation" page, where I explain its many errors, I explore the question, "Is reincarnation a personal choice?" as many believe it to be.

You are invited to read the entire discussion there, however, I came to see that the Higher Self no longer chooses anything, in this world or the next. Instead, it accesses God's mind, brings itself into alignment with it, and by this atunement, is led in the right direction.

Editor's note: I make an issue of "this world or the next" because there are a lot people on the other side who have not yet found their "true selves," causing them to "pray for" and "choose" worlds which merely reflect their egoic states of mind.

The following is an excerpt from the "Reincarnation" page:

As our “eyes open,” we’ll stop making “choices” and simply allow the answer to come to us. It is only the Ego that wants to “choose.” It will attempt to choose in all aspects of life, in this world and the next, until we get our heads right, including the area of “R” ...

Everything the Ego touches eventually turns to tears, brings no satisfaction, leads to existential crisis, comes to nothing -- but for the chaos it creates. The Higher Self does not “choose,” in any area of life, in this world or the next. 

 

 

caught in fearful perceptions, trapped in worries, that we will not find happiness

excerpts from the writings of physicist Peter Russell, "From Science To God"

 

In every moment I have a choice as to how I see a situation. I can see it through the eyes caught in the materialistic mindset that worries whether or not I am going to get what I think will make me happy.  Alternatively, I can choose to see it through eyes free from the dictates of this thought system.

prayer as panic-button, when we believe we will not get what we need to "make me happy"

But it is not always easy to make that choice. Once I’ve been caught by a fearful perception, I’m seldom aware there could even be another way of seeing things. I think my reality is the only reality.

Sometimes, however, I recognize there could be another way of seeing things, but I don’t know what it is. I can’t make the shift on my own; I need help. But where do I go for help? Other people are as likely to be caught in this thought system as I am [meaning, they can’t help me]. The place to go for help is deep within, to that level of consciousness that lies beyond the materialistic mindset – to the God within. I have to ask God for help. I have to pray.

do not pray for the world to change

When I pray in this way, I am not asking for divine intervention by an external God. I am praying to the divine presence within… Moreover, I am not praying for the world to be different than it is. I am praying for a different perception of the world. I am asking for divine intervention where it really counts – in the mindsets that govern my thinking.

“No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.” Albert Einstein

The results never cease to impress me. Invariably, I find my fears and judgment drop away. In their place is a sense of ease. Whoever or whatever was troubling me I now see through more loving and compassionate eyes.

 

 

 

we are not to pray that someone might love us; this is an impossible request

"When The Summer Is Through" (1966)

all summer long, I’ll be praying that you, will still feel the same, when the summer is through, come back, when the summer is over, I’ll wait for you, so impatiently, I’m longing to see you in September, the summer can’t go by, soon enough for me…

 

“When The Summer Is Through” is an emotionally-moving song about a couple, presumably, college students, who’ve parted for the summer months. “I’ll wait for you,” he laments, “so impatiently.” Moreover, he prays that she will be of the same mind upon reunion “when the summer is though.”

However, it does no good to pray that she will want you as much in September. God and the Guides cannot work with such requests. How could it be otherwise? For some external force, even Divinity itself, to tamper with the volitional attributes of one “made in the image” would be to diminish and violate one’s very humanity. No one in Summerland, or highest Heaven, would ever do such a thing, and so any appeal for her to “still feel the same when the summer is through,” of absolute necessity, must be tabled with no action forthcoming.

Editor’s note: Would you really want someone who needed coaxing and arm-twisting? There’s a Star Trek: Next Generation episode featuring a young girl, a member of “The Q.” She falls for Riker, but he has no feelings for her. Desperate to be accepted, she employs her formidable powers to cause him to seek for her, even against his will. She quickly abandons the effort, however, as the emptiness of it all soon overtakes her.

The point is, when we pray, our requests must not violate sacred personhood, the capacity for free will, free choice, and the responsibility of living one’s own life. Any supplication, by an observing third party, sincere as it may be, which countermands this “prime directive” of the universe, will not rise even as high as a room’s ceiling. 

See Father Benson's instruction on how the Spirit World deals with our prayers.

 

 

a Course In Miracles and its instruction on prayer 

It is not necessary to tell Him [God] what to do. He cannot fail. Where He can enter [to effect what you desire], there He is already.

Mark well this precept from the Course In Miracles as it is the truth. If some good thing can be done for us, then God and his agents, the Spirit Guides, are already johnny-on-the-spot working on it. We don't even have to ask for it. It's already being worked on; if, indeed, such request fulfilled would be in our best interests.

But this isn’t the view of the average religious person, of almost whatever religion. With these, you need to twist God’s arm. He’s so detached, don’t you know, he sleeps a lot and can hardly be bothered to help you. To get his attention you need prayer warriors, prayer chains, prayer wheels, prayer alerts, prayer bulletins, prayer newsletters, prayer something-else, round-the-clock intercessions, masses, all-night prayer-chanting vigils, mindless-memorized prayer recitation, special rogation days of supplication, or whatever other pot-banging contrivance might be employed to lobby and rouse a complacent God.

formulas, programs, and advice - all peddling techniques for getting what you want from God

"The world is filled with so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They're full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don't fall for that nonsense. [God] knows better than you what you need." (Matt. 6:7,8, The Message)

All of these prayer-schemes do not represent reality and will not score points for our case. When our prayers are not answered, then, we can know, (1) whatever we want is not good for us, or (2) it’s the wrong time for it, (3) we need to learn other lessons right now, and, the big one, (4) we’re not prepared to receive.

This last item is the real issue. The real problem of unanswered prayer is not on God’s side, as his team is already right in there, if it can or should be done. The real problem is on our side. We're not ready; we’re immature; we’d make a hash of it; like winning the lottery, it would ruin us.

The needy-little ego has created this lobbying-effort view of prayer, that of ganging up on God to get our own way - as if God didn't care about us; as if God could be schmoozed into making a deal; and, as if we even knew what was good for us.

 

 

the problem with “prayer as asking” is that we have no idea what our true needs are

We ask for health, for more money, for a mate, for this-or-that, but what do we really know? Maybe our current state of diminishment is exactly what we need for our spiritual development.

The best prayer is “thy will be done,” that is, committing our lives to One who knows what we truly need.

See Adrian Smith’s article on this subject.

 

 

'praying always' is a form of instant communication with God offering real answers 

Elenchus. This whole subject of prayer is so misrepresented.

Kairissi. To most people, it just means “give me this, give me that.”

E. And if that’s all it is, then prayer becomes a tool of the ego, a doomed effort to fill up the inner sense of “I am not enough.”

K. But Elenchus, what can we say about this? What’s the right way for an enlightened person to approach this?

E. Well, we do have Paul’s admonition to “pray always.”

K. We’ve stated that this means “remain in constant contact, constant communion with God.” And that’s fine, but what does this really mean? I say this because, well, we’re still very human, flesh and blood, and if we bump our toe on the furniture in the dark, we feel pain. What this means is, we have real needs, we feel that we must ask for things. How do we reconcile this “prayer as asking” versus the more lofty “pray always”?

in all of our eternal lives, we'll never be more likely to pray than when we're missing the one we love most

E. I have to admit, this was a real question for me. For a long time I was confused; and angry, I guess. I didn’t want to just “ask and ask” as that seemed petty and dysfunctional to me, and so, for some years, I didn’t really pray much at all.

K. What happened then?

E. I can’t really say. We’ve learned from spiritual teachers, like Krishnamurti, that “truth is a pathless land,” and you can’t just reduce “finding the truth”, or learning how to pray, to a handy set of “seven laws of success.” It doesn’t work that way.

K. But then, how does it work? Let’s give our readers at least something to go on here.

E. Even though there’s no “approved method” or sure-fire way, I’ll share a bit of what happened to me. But, before I do, let me jump all the way to the final scene. I want to explain what Paul’s phrase “pray always” means; at least, what it means to me, and how it worked out in my life.

K. We would like to know, even if the process unfolds a little differently for each person.

E. The best way I can explain is to bring it all down to a personal situation in my life. Some years ago now, when we were apart, and I didn’t know when – or, really, if -- I’d see you again. I’m sure that was the darkest time of my entire existence. And, I realized that, if I survived the ordeal, my time of missing you so much was the worst kind of pain I could ever experience, in this world or the next, even a million years from now.

K. (silence)

late-night hard-bargaining with God

E. The author uses the phrase “the hermitical years of late-night hard-bargaining with God.” I know what that means. I did that almost every night. I would make my case to God, pleading that either my life should be taken – as it wasn’t worth living without you – or to give me some sort of indication that you still loved me, or that you at least thought of me, or something, anything, to give me hope for the future.

K. (sighing)

E. And I remember thinking, “This is pretty useless. How could this prayer even be answered?” At the time, you were far away, unable to freely communicate, and so I wondered, how could this prayer-request ever “see the light of day” and not be “stopped at the ceiling of my bedroom”? I despaired of receiving any sort of an answer from God concerning you.

K. (very softly) And what did you learn from all this misery and heartache?

it's not a puzzle to be worked out with great effort

E. The answer simply came to me in an unguarded moment. I wasn’t trying to “work out the puzzle” of us, there was no strenuous effort. What happened was, suddenly, I just “saw” how it worked. Usually, I would call this an “insight,” but this was more - I see it as mystical “revelation.”

K. (softly) And what did you “see”, Elenchus?

E. It’s not easy to explain. As we’ve discussed, a “revelation” is non-transferable, it’s for the recipient alone, and others will need to seek for their own “private tutoring” from God. However, I will try to explain. I received an answer from God, about you, and about us, but not via conventional means. I was granted my insight by way of “praying always”, that is, “communion with God” of which Paul speaks. But, this doesn’t really tell you much. So let me say this: When we “live in the spirit,” as Paul used the phrase, when we live from the “true self,” the inner link to God at the core of being, then, when we ask a question, we’ll be given a general sense of “right or wrong,” of “good or bad”, or “within the will of God or not.”

K. And what did you see that was “within the will of God”?

E. When we pose a question, we will sense – what I call – an “inner resonance”.

K. And what does this “inner resonance” feel like?

E. It feels like – absolute certainty. It feels like “there’s not a doubt in my mind.” It feels like “I may not be happy right now, because happiness is linked to happenings – and you’re not here, so I can’t be ‘happy’ – but, even so, I feel an inner joy, and, along with the joy, there’s not a particle of worry in my spirit about the future concerning us.”

K. (silence)

E. I will even go so far as to say that, if one does this the right way - it's not possible to be wrong. I have tested this for many years now, and I have learned that, if I leave the ego out of this, and "get a good reading" from my inner sacred self, with "no static on the line," I have never been led astray.

Editor's note: see the article on "certainty".

E. Now, I’d experienced this “inner resonance” for some years. This was not new to me. But, what was new -- and this is what I learned during the “revelation” – is that the “inner resonance” is God’s way of communicating with us concerning a generalized sense of “thumbs up” or “thumbs down,” if you see what I mean.

K. And so, if I understand correctly, for many years you actually had been receiving answers to your prayers from God, but you didn’t realize they were answers.

E. I was still looking for some external sign. I had received the “inner resonance” about us – a “thumbs up” – but I couldn’t accept this as an actual answer from God, just to me.

K. (small smile) You couldn’t accept yes for an answer.

E. (smiling) I guess so.

K. Actually, Elenchus, this is an amazing point of understanding. It means that not only are we connected to God via “praying always” but it’s actually a form of communication that can be translated into directives for our lives.

E. Once we see how this works, it’s a real game changer. It’s a “private tutoring, “ a “private communication” from heaven - marked "for your eyes only."

K. Elenchus, this "instant communication" reminds me of the debate about "entangled particles," able to affect each other, no matter the separating distance.

E. The great quantum fathers went back-and-forth on this.

K. But, as we often do, let me play “devil’s advocate” and bring up objections some will have. We know that this mystical process has no hope of working unless one is very honest with oneself in terms of sacred introspection. You've made bold statements concerning "it's not possible to be wrong if this is done correctly." But, the critics will say, “He’s just talking to himself, it’s just wishful thinking.”

E. Yes, that will be said.

why do you doubt your senses

K. This moment, coming to mind is that line from Dickens’ “Scrooge.” He’s talking to his old partner Jacob Marley, now a ghost, and exclaims, You’re just an illusion, “there’s more gravy than of the grave” in you; why you’re nothing more than “an undigested bit of beef” or “a fragment of an old potato.” Elenchus, our materialistic critics will judge you similarly, and how will you respond?

Star Trek's Data playing the role of Scrooge

E. I will answer as Marley did: “Why do you doubt your senses?” By this I refer to one’s higher senses, one’s critical faculties, whose foundation is not the dysfunctional ego but the deeper inner-person linked to God. This sacred part of us cannot lead us astray.

K. All this is most instructive. Some spiritual teachers say that God communicates with us via synchronicities, chance happenings, the improbability of which suggests an invisible Guiding Hand. And, while I think synchronicities do occur and are, in fact, a method by which Spirit might get our attention, the “inner resonance” is, by far, the normal, natural, and daily way by which God “speaks” to us.

E. I think this is correct. And let’s make very clear that the sense of “absolute certainty” is not something we drum-up for ourselves, by ourselves; in fact, it has nothing to do with one's own effort and "trying very hard". The “inner resonance” is an effortless and easy natural by-product of our communion with God.

K. A natural by-product of, Paul’s phrase, “praying always.”

E. Absolutely.

K. Elenchus Dear, you were going to say a word about how one might develop this “inner resonance”.

E. There’s not much to say on this. All I can offer is, as we learn to “open a channel” to God, as we allow “surrender and acceptance,” then, like a rosebud opening to the sunlight, we begin to unfold to the energy of the Spirit. As we experience this “openness,” many gifts, long buried within the soul, come to the fore; not the least of which is a sense of instant communication with the Great Spirit.

trust yourself

K. Dear, we should also mention that, once this process begins, we'll need to trust ourselves - the "true self," not the ego. This is what Scrooge failed to do.

E. And it's what I failed to do for a long time - when I "couldn't take yes for an answer."

K. (small smile) 

K. Darling Dear, as footnote to the above, I’d like to offer comment on what we’ve called the perfect prayer – “thy will be done.” A desire to live and express the divine will is not only commendable but a guarantor of success for our lives. However, in light of what we’ve discussed concerning the “inner resonance,” “thy will be done” can also represent, not just God's but, one’s own will being done.

E. This is a valuable insight, Kriss. Say more on this.

K. As we “go within” to explore our inner link with God, we find that what we call our “true self” is not a stand-alone entity but, in reality, a joint life with God; or, maybe it’s better to say that our authentic selves are individualized expressions of God. The effect of this union is that, when we determine the will of God, then, in a very real sense, we are delineating our own sacred desires.

E. They’re linked, they’re one. This is the origin of the "inner resonance." And this is the best prayer because, in effect, we are offering to God, reflecting back to God, willingly and with desire, what God has wanted for us all along.

K. And what we ourselves have wanted all along but, so often, didn't even know it.

K. Elenchus, I’d like to offer a summarizing thought.

E. Please.

K. This whole area of “prayer” is so misunderstood. It’s the proverbial “donkey created by a committee that should have been a horse.” Most people think of prayer as “gimmee, gimmee” – and there’s a place for asking, but asking is really only the very minor part of prayer.

E. It’s strange, isn’t it? We’re told that God and the Guides are already working on giving us everything that we really need and want – even before we know enough to ask for these things.

K. Yes, and this begs the question, so why do we think we have to ask for anything – or, why do we think that “prayer” means asking? Well, we know the answer. It’s the Little-Me Ego that’s so fearful that it will never find happiness; so it has to bang its pots and pans to get God's attention.

E. That is rather pathetic. It doesn’t say much for God.

K. It’s rather insulting, implying that God can’t be trusted to direct our lives.

E. So, Kriss, what would you really like to say about this whole subject?

K. 95% of the time we need to just stop “asking.” We don’t even know what to ask for, we don’t know what we really need to prepare us for eternal life. So, we just need to stop asking. Instead, we need to enter that state of constant contact and “open channel” with God.

E. That’s counter-intuitive. If we picture ourselves in a crisis, we immediately want to start “banging the pots and pans” to get God’s attention.

K. But that’s not how it works. If there’s a real crisis, God and Guides are already all over this for us. They knew about the crisis, could see it coming, long before it hit us. So, to be frank, it’s rather stupid and out-of-alignment with reality to now “use the red phone” to call God in panic about it.

E. So, spell it out for everyone. What should we do when a crisis overwhelms?

K. I’m not saying that we can’t ask for something. We’re human, and we’re in relationship with God, so we should talk about what’s happening. But, after this is done, the main thing we need to do is simply that of opening our spirits to what God is communicating during a time of trial. What are we to learn? What are we to see?

E. As you speak just now, I’m reminded of the many psalms in the Old Testament that say, in effect, “Quiet your worried mind. Just stop. See the salvation of the Lord. Rest in the lovingkindness of the will of God.”

K. Very good. This "salvation" is often not of material substance. There is no "health and wealth gospel." We didn't come to this world to necessarily have our bodily needs answered. That's for the next world. Right now we're supposed to learn how to "open a channel".

E. - to "pray always".

K. Elenchus, let's offer an example that everyone will understand. We're all looking for love and for that true mate. But it really does no good to enter into that "late-night hard-bargaining with God." God already knows that we want and need a Darling Companion, and, in general terms, it's already being worked on for us. So, what's holding up the process? Nothing on God's side of the equation. The real answer as to why we might not have found our true mate yet is that we're not ready. We're not spiritual enough to receive that ultimate gift. To remedy this deficit, we need to put away "prayer as asking" and adopt "prayer as attunement."

 

 

 

Editor's last word:

Elsewhere, I offered my own experience with praying and fasting and lessons learned. However, to briefly restate, especially during my Bible college days, I engaged in a strict regimen, a kind of military discipline, of 36-hour fasting every 2 weeks, plus daily prayer of one hour. After years of this, I found myself burned out. It didn't really help me, except to reveal what doesn't work.

Note: Jesus used the phrase “when you fast,” indicating that this will be done. However, pretty much, Jesus never gave a straight answer to anything. I suspect that the “latter day” representation of fasting is not going without food and drink but expunging the ego from our spirits; today’s fasting is the “long dark night of the soul.” We used to think that fasting for some protracted period of time was extremely difficult; little did we know that controlling and overcoming the ego is the hardest thing, by far, that we will ever do in our eternal lives. See the book on the “small quiet room” for extensive discussion.

I'm reminded of a comment of Tolle that the Buddha did not enter enlightenment until he gave up ascetic practices. I understand what this means now. Enlightenment comes "through" the body, that is, accessing the inner "subtle body," not by punishing and denying the outer body.

These days, whenever I can, I like to do what Anne suggested and walk in that "great big field alone." Her "open book of Revelation" seems most alive in that venue.

 

Postscript:

Much of the above was written several years ago, but a clarification is coming into view for me. I began this article with a definition of prayer:

(1) prayer as petitioning, asking, a pleading for desires and wishes to be fulfilled; the emphasis is on human need, that which is lacking.

(2) prayer as state of mind, awareness, a perception of Divinity’s presence and involvement in one’s life; this view of prayer becomes a virtual state of consciousness, a silent, wordless accessing of Universal Intelligence and Love; allowing one to receive what it is that God would have us receive.

The problem with this definition is that the word “prayer” does, in fact, literally mean “asking”. And so whatever definition we settle on has to incorporate this sense of “asking.”

But I came to see this: There is asking in terms of things required to make our way through this material world. We need things to survive on planet Earth. However, as we’ve learned, whatever we truly need is already in process of coming to us, if these things represent authentic needs, in terms of lessons to be learned and not necessarily a perpetuation of the mortal existence.

But “prayer as state of mind” can also be a form of asking. Indeed, for the maturing individual, this is the great request. To “pray always” means asking God for help in opening our minds and spirits, to be receptive to the divine will. It is a request that we might readily “open a channel” to God’s directives. This is the great prayer.

Praying, asking, for things, relative to our mortal time in this world, is but a temporary phase. We’ll soon be in a new world in which all things will be supplied.

But, beyond things, prayer is also asking for an open mind to see and to do God’s will -- and this is something that will never go out of style, even a million years from now.

This is Paul's “praying always” -- this is the asking always -- that our spirits might be humble and open, willing to embrace "thy will be done," which ever represents the attitude of the mature son or daughter of God.

a fish doesn't need to ask for an ability to live in water

Restatement: To say that “prayer as asking” should be applied to request for open mind and willingness to do God’s will begs clarification. While an outright verbal petitioning is not something negative, we should understand that asking for this, as we might ask for a new job or good health, somewhat misses the focus of the issue. We cannot, in any meaningful sense, ask for an open mind as if it were some benefit external to us. We already have the machinery, so to speak, in place, right now, to make this happen. Our very natures are designed to do this; even, little else. To open one’s mind or to augment a willingness to perform God’s will is not accomplished so much by verbal asking but by “going within,” by noticing the discord of one’s egoic mind, by “minding the gap.” Our very natures lead us to these mental positions, constitute a default setting, with no need to ask for anything. It’s like a fish asking to live in water. It’s not necessary. What is necessary is simply realizing, opening one's eyes to, what one is and has already been given. These concepts, while simple in essence – once we experience them – are discussed in a great many writings on the WG site. I would suggest beginning on the “true self” page and proceeding from there.

K. Elenchus… I’ve been considering all we’ve said here and have looked at it from the readers’ point of view. I have to say that many will charge that our explanations sounds rather vague.

E. Tell me what you mean.

K. When people pray, they do so because they feel a real need in their lives. They’re asking God for a clear answer. They want something definite. Now you’ve used phrases like “absolute certainty” but, to the grieving heart, those words seem to fall flat.

E. Yes, I understand. I’ve often felt that way.

K. You said that, when you were missing me, you’d “bargain with God.” But we know that God is not purchasable and cannot be lobbied to perform according to one's desires. Elenchus, I’m wondering if you could offer us a restatement on some of these questions. How can a generalized sense of “everything’s ok” from God satisfy the panic-stricken heart that is terrorized with “I will never find happiness”?

E. Alright… let me try again… During those long years when I had no word from you, I sometimes found myself burdened to try to make sense of what happened to us. And sometimes, as I recalled the memories, I would be very angry with you. I thought about some of the vicious things you said, and I wondered, how can I interpret this as to give me, and us, some hope for later on? Sometimes I’d put a positive spin on it, I’d play your advocate, and make excuses for you. But, then, later, this spin-doctoring would fall apart for me as I couldn’t come up with a good reason why you should have acted as, or said the things, you said.

K. (softly) And what did you do then?

E. Sometimes my anger would grow and grow, and I’d even wish – once again, as I’ve done other times in my life – just to be rid of you, and to find a sane good girl to be with, and to be done with you forever.

K. (silence)

E. But then, I always had to face the reality, I knew that I couldn’t love another. I’d tried that several times and it couldn’t work for me, it always lead me to existential crisis of “the emptiness” within. And so I’d feel trapped. I didn’t trust you, I didn’t feel I could give my life to you even if you came, but, on the other hand, I couldn’t be with anyone else. And so I felt stuck. In this world and the next, really stuck, without hope of ever finding happiness. And this fatalism would enrage me.

K. (silence)

E. And so I would turn to God, and ask what could be done. I’d sort of given up my “hard-bargaining” because I also realized that God will not force someone to love me; that would just destroy another’s humanity, one’s right to free will, and so what good is that.

K. (softly) And so, backed into this corner, with no escape, what did you do?

E. I started thinking about this whole subject of prayer. And I thought of Paul’s admonishment to “pray always”, and I wondered what it could mean, especially, with my panicked state of mind which believed that it could never find happiness. I realized that the ego is plagued with feelings of “I don’t have enough” because “I am not enough.” The ego wants what it wants right now, it’s terrified right now, and it wants something definite. But how could I get information from God about you and a possible future with you when you were light-years away, and in an immature condition? How could I get the specific-answer response from God that I craved?

K. And what did you discover?

E. In a moment of inner silence, I finally realized that God was speaking to me about you. And the answer I got was not in words, not in precise verbal communication. But I was given a sense of “absolute certainty.”

K. But you said that this often was not enough to calm the mind.

E. Here’s what I found. The “inner resonance” of “absolute certainty” sounds fairly worthless to the panicked ego. That’s not what it wants. It wants a clear and exact answer, and mainly, it wants the object of its desire. But I had to see that, if I continued operating on the level of the ego, nothing would ever satisfy me; nothing can ever fill up the “holes in the heart” of “I don’t have enough” because “I am not enough.” And so I had to learn to silence my egoic mind, I had to stop the ego’s clamoring and churning.

K. People will want to know, how is this done?

E. I can’t tell you how. No one can. Each person must face God, alone, and “wait for the answer.” And when the answer comes, usually it’s not a clear verbal communication. I knew it had to be this way because God would not force you to speak to me, and come to me, until you were ready. But as I entered a better communion with God…

K. ... or, as you experienced a sense of “praying always”…

E. Yes, as I experienced that, and as I was given a pervading perception of “absolute certainty” that all was well, then – in a hot moment – I suddenly was able to accept that I didn’t need the clear verbal communication. The inner resonance of absolute certainty was enough for me. And I knew that I could live this way, without definite information about you or from you, for as long as I needed to.

K. (silence)

E. Now, of course, what I say here will be unsatisfying to many. But this is because they, as I had done, are still operating on the level of the ego, and nothing will ever satisfy them; not even getting what you think you want. We need to go beyond the requirements of the ego or we shall never find satisfaction here. But when we do access the higher realm, then – to quote Paul once again – we enter a domain of “the peace of God which passes all understanding.”

K. And why does it “pass all understanding”?

E. The sense of peace offered in this kind of answered prayer goes well beyond the materialistic demands of the ego. The inner “absolute certainty” is not based upon external advantages in the 3-D world; instead, it “passes” this lower level of materialistic “understanding” as it somewhat directly accesses the mind of God with its virtues of love, joy, peace – and certainty. When you do this, suddenly you feel "enough."

K. Darling Dear, another way of saying all this is that sometimes, many times, when we pray, we should not make our supplications as if we were beggars on the street in abject poverty. Big Religion encourages this skewed vision of ourselves as woeful and depraved sinners - but this is far from the truth. Instead, we were made in the image of God and, at core being, have need of nothing. Our problem, in so many instances, is not that of requiring God to give us something extra but only to open our eyes to the "riches within."

E. Yes - as the author said - a fish doesn't need to ask for an ability to live in water.