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Editors: Jerry Katz, Gloria Lee, Christiana Duranczyk, Michael Read, John Metzger
Highlights Issue #1040
Saturday, April 13, 2002
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(Editor note: this issue is dedicated to an inquiry on prayer posed by Lisa on NDS. In addition to the responses she received, I scanned the NDS website and culled from the archival wealth resting there. Perhaps it will open a different way of seeing/being with prayer. )
Lisa This thought has been recurring and I hope
someone will choose to reflect on
it. Does prayer work? I remember praying continuosly when my children
died but never had a sense that a greater power was listening. Fast
forward-I meditate now as a means to relax, reflect, replenish...many of the
staff here suggest to families that they "pray" for the health of a sick family
member or they will say "my prayers are with you". I choose to simply "wish
them well" and I am sincere in that thinking. Prayer to me suggests that there
is an entity outside of our energy that is capable and willing to grant favors,
miracles etc. I believe that we all have the ability to heal ourselves if we can
tap the reserve that is already there. God is the whole that we are all a part
of but I don't think that God is separate from me or you. Anyway, what of
prayer, maybe I am defining it incorrectly.
Between you, me, and the bishop,
I'd say pray, but not in the
Bishop John Spong:
Prayer is the conscious human
intention to relate to the depths of life
and love and thereby to be an agent of the creation of wholeness in
one another. Prayer is the offering of our life and our love through the
simple action of sharing our friendship and our acceptance. Prayer is
my being calling to the being of another and thus giving that other the
courage to dare, to risk, and to be in a whole new way, perhaps
inside a whole new dimension of life. Prayer is also my active
opposition to those prejudices and stereotypes that diminish the
personhood and the being of another. Prayer is taking the proper
political action to build a society in which opportunities can be
equalized and no one will be forced to accept the status quo as his or
her destiny. Prayer is the ability to embrace the fragility of life and to
transform it even as we are victimized or killed by it. Prayer involves
shedding the delusion that we are the center of the universe or that
our lives are so important to some external deity that this deity will
intervene to protect us. Prayer is a call out of childish dependency
into spiritual maturity.
So praying and living deeply,
richly, and fully have become for me
almost indistinguishable. We are to live as if everything we say and
do is a Prayer, calling others to life, to love, and to being.
The closest I can come to a way of
defining how prayer feels now, is
a conscious complete stop of all sensory-mental input and a deep
dive of surrender to what remains. I trust our interconnectedness and
the chaotic order of the universe, and simply open to empty
willingness: an allowing of love and awareness to flow where needed
through me. I can also affirm that I have been the recipient on a
number of occasion of the shared blessing of such love from others.
It is quite palpable. Two (amongst many) pointers are useful for me in this:
from Stephen Wolinsky's You Are Not: beyond the three veils of
No frames of reference --
No references to frame
from Gene Poole
It is the points which shift the least,
which I attend to as guides to going deeper.
definition of "prayer"
also points toward the
essence of another word
often seen hereabouts:
meditation. When prayer
is without motive, when
its essence is utter
surrender in what is,
then it is, to borrow a
favorite expression from
J. Krishnamurti, "a
I find prayer to be useful at the
very least to me. When I hold in mind
a thought of sharing my energy with someone in need, it seems to
open my heart and calm me down. Whether it helps the person to
whom I'm beaming my love and support, I can't directly say, but my
own experience is that I feel more loving and happier. Nonetheless,
there have been studies done. Here are some links that you might find
interesting if you have the time...
There is a lot of support in
references I have read that evolution
occurs where a need is established. Praying establishes a need. The
more intense the prayer the greater the exhibited need, the faster the
Praying helps a
lot - there is evidence of that. It is even more
promising than can be imagined because the experiment taken were
with "normal" ppl, not Reiki practitioners, yogis or "practicing"
nondualists. It means, any "practice" that lessened conditioning, will increase these
beneficial healing influences. It is not a coincidence that the early
Christians, Buddhists (probably all K. awakened) were healers.
That again isn't a
coincidence as self-surrender and love strengthen
the self-healing ability of the mind-body and like a magnet spreads a
field aligning neighboring iron particles, the life-force aligns everything
near it too. Occurrences of synchronicity then are frequent, healing
influences include stimulating the self-healing ability in other
to speak of my own
experience, i am finding that as my
understanding of what sources happiness seems to be shifting, i am
apparently becoming less interested in putting in requests for specific
outcomes, even the supposedly highest ("selfless") aspirations. i seem
to simply be more interested, right now, in seeing what happens as i
don't ask for anything.
i do find myself
sometimes giving or sending Reiki to people . i watch
myself with this to see what is going on inside. it feels good to do
Reiki when someone is hurting and i feel the urge, so why not? and
sometimes it eases for me the feeling of helplessness.
the instinct to
nurture and support healing seems primal. there is an
urge to give oneself somehow to the flow of things as a kind of
sacrifice for the hurting one.
Rajneesh/Osho says prayer "is a communion between you and the
whole." And he says that "prayer is still a meeting so ultimately it also
has to be transcended." ... "This requires the subtlest awareness
possible. If you can be aware of the meeting between you and whole,
then you transcend yourself and the whole, both. Then you are the
whole. And in this whole, there is no duality..."
At the risk of mixing levels of discussion, here's a little story regarding
prayer, I've come across a naturally nondual woman. She is a
schizophrenic functioning fairly well on her own with medication, and
she is naturally a selfless person. When she revealed that she prays
for the well-being of her friends and loved ones every night, she was
asked whether she prays for herself. She looked surprised, and
responded as though she had never thought of the concept and
embarrasingly said, "No, I never thought of that." She replied not as
someone who came to the realization that there is no one to pray for,
but as someone who naturally never thought there was any self to
pray for. She was startled at the suggestion. This is a woman who is
always delightful, smiling, laughing and a giver of energy.
I am weak -- pathetic really.
If I were not:
I would always speak the truth from my heart.
I would speak to the wise essence of others
and not to the them that they know.
I would speak with an intonation
that shared the fullness of my being
instead of protecting and hoarding
what wealth made there lie.
Prayers would be unnecessary --
every utterance and thought would be a prayer.
Meditation would be redundant --
every step and gesture --every movement and stillness would be meditation.
(c) Carlos Dwa 1999 http://www.nonduality.com/hl393.htm
nbe: facets snipped from a wealth of David's writings. You are
invited to read the fullness of these writings here
I hate to say this but Religion is what brought me to the brink. I
thought that religion was the form within which I could have my life
and my being but instead religion took me to my cross and left me
there to suffer. And I prayed a deep prayer, a dangerous prayer. The
prayer I prayed changed the direction of my life forever. I prayed for
God to take me deeper. Whatever the cost. Take me deeper, God,
whatever the cost.
I'm reading Ramesh Balsekar's "Pointers from Nisargadatta
Maharaj", and I have come across the following exchange (p.33):
"Visitor: What then is prayer, and what is its purpose?"
"Maharaj: Prayer, as it is generally understood, is nothing but begging
for something. Actually, prayer means communion-uniting-yoga."
Nisargatta is setting up a progression. I think "communion"
is what is done when one feels oneself to be separate from Self and
seeks unity with it. "Union" can be considered to be the NonDual
realization. So from this I get the following: Prayer is both the
technique and the resulting realization of NonDuality. Before
realization, prayer is the self-inquiry, the communion with Self, the
turning of attention inward towards I AM. In realization, there is the
uniting. After realization, prayer is yoga, samadhi, simply what is,
Nothing comes between sky. Nothing can divide it. Not night
nor day or anything within it. There is nothing between the
seen and the unseen, for there is no such thing as false sky.
The nature of emptiness is that it can be filled infinitely with
its own reality. Reality is self-fulfilling.
To fulfill ourselves is to ask. To pray. Prayer is the great opening. All
conscious realms of being were prayed into existence, refusing to be
fulfilled with anything but God. They have doubted the false coin, and
so have learned that nothing can be depleted within them. They are
the expansion of prayer, fulfilling its own intent. Love.
As for me, though it sounds dualistic, I pray for help. And I get it.
The request that I make to "get me free" of my loops may be just a
trick, but it's a trick to end my habitual tricks. Like dreaming our way
out of the dream. Now we are dreaming a dream of waking up.
Praying for help relieves me of trying to do my awakening. It also
opens up my mind and heart, and once opening I pray for help to
My prayers are answered by/as Presence.
There are agents of Grace - it's just each other living in this world and
in wholeness worlds. Lord, am I grateful!
The common speech saying 'pray to God' may also be heard
(experimentally) as 'prey to God'. Obviously, this shift of one letter
changes the meaning of this phrase; or does it?
The spoken words of this phrase 'pray/prey to God' are quite similar.
Is there any possible rational meaning in the phrase 'prey to God'? I
offer that there is, and significances worthy of note.
To 'prey to' is to 'stalk' or to 'hunt' what is desirable to the hunter.
Certainly, I as hunter desire 'God'. Thus I stalk 'God'.
If I 'prey to God', I am stalking the Ultimate Reality; I am seeking the
source of myself and of everything; I am following the River of Life to
The Nondual perspective eliminates obstacles to this migration of my
self to Self; Nonduality does not state that 'self is God', as does
'solipsism'; Nonduality offers a picture of wholeness which includes
all particles, including self, as an undisintegrated existing reality, which
some call 'God'.
It is the _hunger which drives the hunt_; it is appetite, desire, and
acknowledgement of my ignorance which moves me forward. I stalk
the unknown, knowing that I do not know, what I do not know, and
knowing also that by acknowledgment of the void within me, that void
may be filled by God. That is my prayer.
"Prayer can draw in grace by a spiritual attunement of one's being in
the intensity of feeling, which is the motive power behind prayer.
Feelings that rise from the deepest recesses of one's heart can
produce immediate results, because of their proximity to reality." -
Sandeep Chatterjee [email protected]
Though I try to bow to him,
He does not remain before me
As an object of my worship.
He does not allow any sense of difference.
How wonderful is his friendship!
He has manifested duality
In the form of Guru and disciple
Where there is not even a place for one!
The words, "Guru" and "disciple"
Refer to but one;
The Guru alone exists as both these forms.
Salutations to the holy feet of the Guru
Whose actionlessness is absolute,
Without any trace of activity.
_________________________________________________ Sarlo Sarlo recently quoted:
This was more
evidence proving the existence of the hologram-that we are not separate,
are intimately connected, and we are all a part
of a fundamental whole.