Coloured portrait

Coloured portrait

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Integral Prayer Reflections

May I be strong, but not rigid; soft and vulnerable, but not fragile; may I be kind, loving and generous, but also keep a healthy sense of self, and clear boundaries; may I be flexible, but also have a tall, strong spine! May I be wise as well as kind and powerful, a synergy of higher qualities embodied and expressed. May I embody and express Love, Wisdom and Power, with skill and elegance. Where there was impossibility, may there be possibility; where there was difficulty, may there be ease; where there was ease, may there be beauty. May I thrive and prosper, and may the world around me thrive and prosper. May everything and everyone that I think of, speak or write of- or to-, look at, listen to, and touch be well, prosper, thrive and grow.

Many of my prayers are the finite self’s petitions to the Infinite, similar to a child’s request to her parents. This is the way I pray when I feel tired, sick or small, regressed into small ego, feeling fragile. To lift myself up, I remind myself first who it is that I am praying to: the Infinite Eternal Being, the One whose Love, Wisdom, Power, Peace and Joy has no beginning and no end, no limits whatsoever, which means that no prayer is too small or too big, too many or too few to be answered.

Petitionary prayer is a second-person perspective relationship with the Divine: I am asking “You” to please listen and answer my prayers. The reassuring part is an objectified, third person perspective “It” God: The Divine Parent is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient and all-caring, and is appearing as everything that I see, hear, touch, taste, smell and feel. To this I add: I choose to know that God and I are not two; that I am at one with this love, wisdom, power, peace and joy, and that the One who asks is not different, or ‘other’ than the One who grants; and that the request and the answer are just two different perspectives of the same One, the All-That-Is.  Just in case the perspective of the finite self is tempted to get lost in doubts, such prayer reminds her that requests are placed not to someone who is powerless and careless, but the One who can everything, loves everything, and is everywhere, always. Thus, it is clear that the prayers are heard, considered and answered, at all times.

“Dear God, you are a kind and merciful God. Your loving kindness, wisdom, power, peace and joy are infinite and eternal. You are my beloved Father-Mother-All-That-Is and I am your beloved daughter. Dear God, with your infinite, eternal loving kindness, mercy, wisdom, power, peace and joy, please…”

When I hurt, I contract, and my prayers reflect this self-absorbed contraction: “Bless me”, “Give me”, “Help me”. But it is only my sense of self, she who I experience myself to be in that moment, which is contracted to small ego; fortunately, the integrally-informed cognition allows me glimpses of higher altitudes and considerations because in order for prayers to be answered well, fast and in the flow, they must fulfil and enrich each aspect and level of Being. In other words, I give my small self green light to go ahead and ask for anything at all, for as long as it is enriching others, and the world that I am part of, including consciousness itself: a win-win-win-win for All. For example, praying for getting someone else’s job, home or spouse, would be asking for something at someone else’s expense, a win-lose, which only creates conflict in one’s mind and in the world. A friend of mine who is passionate about table tennis, told me that while he was once watching a ping-pong match, he kept praying for his non-favourite team to make mistakes, and they did, after which my friend was ill for a few days. How wise is it to take sides? The great majority of humans still do: seventy percent of the world population is world-centric, which means their sense of identity is ‘one with the gang’ and their prayers are: “Dear God, kill the other gang and save ours”.

What would a comprehensive prayer be like? Maybe “May this ping-pong game be blessed, a fun and exciting one for all!” One team may still win and the other loose, but it is possible to lose (or win) a game, and still enjoy it, is it not. What about war, then – what kind of prayer does one utter when he, or his family is the target of deadly weapons? “Dear God, save us and kill the enemy?” or “May this carnage stop, and may there be peace, safety and justice now for all.”

Looking from the perspective of humanity, as opposed to the gang perspective, the question arises: what does humanity need? Is there a need for more battles won and enemies killed; or is there a need for wars to end and peace to descend upon all?
Taking the perspective of Infinite and Eternal Love and Wisdom brings up the question: “Which of the two enriches the Love consciousness in the world: won battles, or peace that has replaced war? “
Answers are seldom simple and straight; but exploring various perspectives increases the confidence that your praying is in the flow, and that it has encountered the least adversity to the prayer’s outcome. So if I pray even for something small and personal, the granting of my prayer should also enrich others and the world.

"Dear God, bless me with health and thriving, and bless me with all that it takes to sustain health and livelihood. May I be balanced, strong, and resilient; may I be kind."

Interestingly, such consideration of greater circles of care during my prayer has an expanding effect, and enables the taking and maintaining of the greatest perspective: the perspective of Consciousness itself. So when I feel pain, or emotional turbulence, I can pray from a place that is beyond the persona, uttering prayer that is meant to heal not just my own pain and turbulence, but any pain and turbulence in the world, prayer that is inspired from, and resembles to the one attributed to the mystic St.Francis of Assissi.

"Where there was pain, let there be peace. Where there was emotional turbulence, let there be calm, peaceful thought and emotion. Where there were curses, let there be blessings; where there was discord, let there be harmony; where there was lack and scarcity, let there be prosperous abundance".

St. Francis’ Prayer:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this Tana. It speaks to me at this moment in life especially during a confusing time when I'm trying to "hold the tension of opposites", reviewing long standing values and trying to look and feel non dualistically. I love the integral prayer. Blessing and peace to you Tana.

    Dorothy Miller