For just one moment, try to clear away prejudices or restrictive thoughts about prayer and meditation that you may have. I invite you to join me in a “thought cloud” of open-mindedness about these highly charged topics.
For purposes of this article… our new working definitions:
Prayer = Using Focused Intention – “TALKING”
Meditation = Sitting With Inner Stillness – “LISTENING”
Prayer is “sending” and meditation is “receiving, and they are both in the family of mindfulness practices. They offer us a connection to the magical side of the Universe I like to call the “Mysterious.” They both harness the power of human consciousness, regardless of religious/spiritual background and beliefs.
When we pray…
… we use thoughts in the form of language, usually to express deeply held feelings to a Higher Power. Sometimes, we pray words that were written thousands of years ago, written by someone else from a far removed culture, but they somehow resonate with how we feel at the moment. Prayer can take many forms including asking questions, expressing gratitude, and pleading for help.
When we meditate…
… we cease movement and allow the “see-er” of our minds and hearts to illuminate and go on without us in a sense. We then achieve a state of be-ing that is deeply anchored into the realms of stillness and receptivity. The stillness within is a place that underlies all the noise and worry of the daily grind.
In this place, we can see and hear the Universe with a clarity not accessible in “normal” consciousness. Meditation can take many forms including listening for answers, being mindful of our own existence, and excepting vibrational/energetic nourishment from the Universe.
Particularly here in the West, we have this prayer thing down, so I will focus more on that practice for a minute. Most people seem to be comfortable with “TALKING” to the Universe, but “LISTENING” is a bit more challenging for us. Without getting into the historical context of why I think this is the case, let me simply suggest that starting small is the way to go.
Start with sitting quietly for 5 minutes and increase by 1 minute each session until you get to 20-30 minutes. For myself, going through the process conditioning my mind to be quiet, was similar to conditioning my body to be strong when I first started to workout with weights as a teen.
Both prayer and meditation are invaluable for self-cultivation and building our relationship with the Universe and with ourselves. When we combine the power of prayer and meditation, we also begin to make mindful decisions that positively impact the direction of our lives.
“The block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak becomes a stepping-stone in the pathway of the strong. That block of granite is often nothing more than a decision.” – Thomas Carlyle
Perception of what a thing means can literary rock your world one way or the other. Sitting quietly daily with yourself and the Stillness within, can dial you in to the Universe in a way that refines your perceptive apparatus.
You must choose how to navigate the path of your life, and usually the “easier softer” way isn’t for the Highest Good. Ask the Universe (or your Higher Power) for guidance (PRAYER) and listen/feel what your heart is telling you (MEDITATION).
Your intuitive self has a direct line to the Highest Good…
… and knowing this can help you make powerfully positive decisions when you (your egoic self) don’t have the strength to pull the trigger. Making mindful decisions and not reactive ones, will consistently steer your life into beautiful places. True story.