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This month’s Featured discussions: now sprouting the invitation to guide into your highest self with this theme:

Prayer in our lives- Let’s Discuss!

Prayer.

Powerful. Personal.

Intimate, yet poignantly vulnerable.

Self-serving and self-serving.

Something so natural and yet needing to be learned and re-learned.

How does prayer ‘fit into’ your life? How do you bring it in your life?

Let’s discuss, share your wisdom, your questions.

Some possible themes which come to mind are:

1. Prayers – how they help me

2. Prayers – why, what, how and when

3. To pray or to meditate?

4. My personal experiences with prayers

5. Prayers answered – Sharing my experiences

6. How do I pray; or any new theme…

Teach me how to pray

One night a sleepy little boy knelt beside my bed

He smiled and looked into my eyes and this is what he said

Daddy, my daddy, you’ve taught me lots today

So daddy, my daddy, teach me how to pray.

You brought me home a brand new kite showed me how to fly

And there ain’t no wonder kid who’s dad can knock a ball so high

I’d like to thank God for you, but I don’t know what to say

So daddy, my daddy, teach me how to pray.

I’d had to turn and leave his room, he began to cry

I didn’t want my boy to know but so did I

His best pal forsaken him but what was there to say

For daddy, yes daddy, had forgotten how to pray.

“I believe that the souls of men have the rights of men.

Background: Man has always innately known that he is more than a mere body. That cognizance formed the spiritual foundation of the first great civilization in Egypt, a culture that endured for twenty-seven centuries.

Even before in ancient India, early Hindu philosophers also addressed the basic questions of life. Here, at the dawn of written history we find the poems and hymns of the Veda, a body of Hindu wisdom extending back ten millennia. That rich source of spiritual insight provides the only workable philosophic knowledge handed down from prehistoric times.

By acknowledging the spiritual nature of man in the doctrine of transmigration–the ancient concept of reincarnation–which holds that life is a continuous stream which flows ceaselessly without either beginning or end, the Hindu recognized the prospect of many lives. And he reasoned that a man had just as many opportunities to achieve self-knowledge.

Further East, Taoism taught that the world moved according to a divine pattern reflected in the rhythmic and orderly movements of nature.  Tao mean  simply “way” or “way to go” and describes the way the universe moves. Taoism teaches that when men are most natural, they move according to the laws of interdependence and interaction of all universal laws, and so maintain a perfect harmony and balance. In this way, Taoism strove toward higher spiritual states to which man could aspire.

The next philosophical advance of singular importance within our written history was accomplished by Siddartha Gautama. His work was within a religion called Dharma, preached by individuals known as Buddhas. Dharma proclaimed man to be a spiritual being who can achieve an entirely new state of awareness, and taught that “all that we are is the result of what we have thought; it is founded on our thoughts; it is made up of our thoughts.”

With only a handful of followers, and using only the wisdom, teachings & extant technologies of the time, Dharma cast its mantle over India & China, extending even up to Asia minor, and presented messages which included “love thy neighbor”, and general compassion for life. Dharma rose to prominence in an Asia enslaved by animism, superstition, idolatry, cannibalism & slavery. By the sheer power of its spiritual message, Dharma brought two-thirds of Earth’s population to an attainment of higher levels of wisdom.

Several hundred years later in the west came Christianity–bringing new hope to man through Jesus Christ. Their central tenets brotherly love & abstinence from force tamed a culture steeped in barbarism & paved a way for a new era of social & individual progress.

Prayer carries with it such Power. Indeed, the most profound thinkers–have worked to bring salvation through wisdom. The responsibility for guiding man on the path to that treasured aim has always been religion’s fundamental mission, and all religions today have no different or greater task.

From all of these tremendous strides toward self-fulfillment through religious truths, prayer has been forwarded and applied in daily life. The most powerful things in existence are the spirit and mind of man. One man’s dream alone can elevate a culture. I like prayers. If one is not working for me I have learned that we don’t blame God or the Supreme Being.  We step back & take more responsibility or learn what is omitted to help the prayers get answered.  Not all are efforty but some I have experienced are for me & i needed to believe in something myself to help manifest a prayer with the help of the Supreme Being. Praying brings light.” ~Admin

“As I read your words to soften my heart and open up to that  dimension [blissful], I get the feeling of the tremendous value of prayer.

I have sometimes thought of prayer as directed towards – a God with or without form; God-as-giver and so on; and meditation as a state of feeling connected without the need to ask.

But sometimes, without meaning to, a prayer goes up from the heart; specially when
I’ve been in trouble; and it usually is when there’s an emergency; e.g. safety of a child.

Perhaps prayer helps us to know what’s in our heart?

I love the ancient words “Lead us from unreal to real, from darkness to
light, from fear of death to knowledge of immortality. “  [Asato ma sadgamaya…..]

Prayer feels like a wonderful and also a mysterious topic in some ways. I sense that the word prayer means different things to different people. As a little girl I used to pray. I didn’t question prayer at all or think about it intellectually. I used to express gratitude, thank you God for this day… and also ask for things, please God don’t let it rain this weekend so we can have our picnic! As a teenager I began to question, God knows what’s in my heart, why say it too. Sometimes when life felt very tough I found myself praying fervently! With results so miraculous I have never forgotten.

When I became Buddhist I again questioned prayer in an intellectual way. If there is no external God – who am I praying to. There was was a Q&A session with a precious teacher at our Buddhist centre and I asked this question and Geshela responded quite simply, ‘you are praying to the Buddha or the Deity…’. I contemplated this for some time and realized that as an unenlightened being, my experience is dualistic – there is internal and external, a ‘you and an I’. Therefore there is Buddha and an ‘I’.

I have a little shrine at home and each morning – these days at 9.09 Gaia Minute – I start by praying for those closest to me and slowly expand my awareness to include acquaintances, strangers, those who see me as an enemy to the whole of earth – Gaia and finally the universe. I think of my love for my daughter Gra-anna and generate this same love equally for all beings – love, protection, freedom from suffering and the causes of suffering and to be quickly enlightened for the sake of all beings. I love the Boddhicitta way and like practice this in my prayers. I then include mantras after which I meditate.

At dinner time our little family says prayers – each taking a turn, expressing gratitude for the food we are about to eat, for the love in our family, for the gift of this life, and so on – whatever comes to mind. My son sometimes reminds me of myself as a child, ‘please let it not rain tomorrow so I can…’

I also do like to think of life as a living prayer. Holding an open awareness without thoughts in a meditative way – this feels like a very powerful way to pray.

There are times I pray ‘for something’ and I am always moved by the Divine unfoldings. Gratitude. ~Admin

Why do we pray?

If God knows everything that we know, asked the child,
Then why do I have to ask Him for what I want?
Why do I have to pray and ask?

There was no satisfactory answer as the question was asked inwardly.

It was only later that I realized the answer to my child-question.

We ask what we want, so that we can really know what it is that we want!
By focusing on it, we learn about the desires we hold in awareness and ones that we may suppress.

It is not the self asking God :It is God telling the self about the desires in its heart. The desires that connect the soul to the Source;

That the Source places in each soul, as a string of lights, helping the

seeker to find the way back to its Self, its Unity, its Source.

It is only when we ask that we can receive.


 

“From the viewpoint of non-dualistic thought we could say that using intense concentration we enter into our inner self and thus we merge with the universal consciousness residing within us to touch the Truth. We unite with the ONE and the ONE answers all our questions. From dualistic bhakti yoga viewpoint, we visualize the same Truth in a material form (sakaar rupa) and we say we are praying to God and HE is answering our prayers. We think God is all  powerful and thus can do ANYTHING. We could divide prayers into three types. First : supplication and appeals – give me this, give me that. Second : praising and thanking – “we thank thee”. The third type is “giving, and desiring only HIS COMPANY”. In a private communication to someone very close to my heart I had written “A proper prayer is one which is done NOT TO ASK, NOT TO APPEAL. A proper prayer is OFFERING THE SELF. A visual image which I have is the Mother offering breast milk to her baby. That divine offering, so pure, so unselfish, so loving … that is closest I can imagine what a prayer should be.” Streams of tears, divine tears, often run down my cheeks when I pray. ~Swami

Your description comes closest (as much as words can come close) to my personal experience of prayer. Thank you so much for including it here. It’s funny. I didn’t understand the appeal of praying–which I’d always understood to resemble something like an “asking for” or a plea–until I realized that my own unrelenting desire to give myself over to All That Is, to the world, to the magic of the universe, and to offer myself wholly into that unfolding whole, was deeply, deeply prayerful. Now, I too like to think of (my) life as a living prayer. This topic is wonderful. I’ve been soaking up each reply and feeling so, so nourished. ~with gratitude

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