Prayer and Meditation - What are They?
The greatess revelation is stillness.'
Lao - Tzu 6th century BC (Chinese philosopher)
"'What’s the point of praying if there is no personal God?’ ‘My prayers are never answered, so praying is just a waste of time and pointless.’ ‘I’m not religious so I don’t see the
need to pray.' ‘Prayer is asking God to do something that you can’t do for yourself, isn’t it?’ ‘Isn’t meditation something they do in caves in India?’ ‘Meditation is for weird people
who have nothing better to do.’ ‘Meditation – isn’t that sitting for hours on end doing nothing?’
From a layman’s point of view these are perfectly logical questions and statements. Although some will find it amusing, when those who think prayer and meditation are a waste of time or pointless, will themselves sit for hours, night after night, staring at a screen in the corner of a room.
Since they are an important part of our puzzle, let’s throw some light on both of these subjects.
In desert wilds, in midnight gloom;
In grateful joy, in trying pain;
In laughing youth, so nigh the tomb;
Oh! When is prayer unheard or vain?
Eliza Cook 1818 – 1889 (English poet)
I am sure that at some time you have felt the need to pray, particularly when the storm clouds of life hovered above your head and the mists of gloom and despondency surrounded
you. In all probability you felt helpless and inwardly alone regarding your predicament. You may well have uttered the simplest of prayers, such as: ‘Dear God, please help me,’ or
maybe your cry for help was for a loved one.
They say there is no such thing as an atheist on a sinking ship, and that even the hardest of men will utter a prayerful call for help from a Deity when all is lost and they
can see no hope for life. I would also expect atheists to suddenly become an extinct species during a massive earthquake or hurricane. I have known macho truck drivers burst into tears and
resort to prayer when a child becomes terminally ill, which was something that probably wouldn’t have entered their heads when life was good.
There is something inherent in the human race that under certain life threatening conditions, manifests itself in a degree of humility as a plea for help from an ‘invisible intelligence’ far greater than itself. For many it can be a last act of self-preservation before impending doom strikes. For others it can be an unselfish desire to see a ‘Divine intervention’ in the sorry state of human affairs.
There are many and diverse reasons why, at times, we feel a need to beg for mercy from the Absolute, yet show very little of the same to our own kind or the animals to which we are so cruel. Some people, who have prayed ‘parrot fashion’ all their life, suddenly lose their ‘faith’ and stop altogether when they blame God for a personal tragedy that has hit them hard. Knowledge of what prayer really is and how it works would save many from such torment.
The childish interpretation of prayer is asking or demanding a favour of a ‘humanised’ invisible God who sits on a golden throne surrounded by angels in a realm called ‘Heaven’ somewhere up in the sky. Some people are encouraged to pray to the Saints or other enlightened beings that they are told dwell in this heaven world. If only 25 per cent of the world’s seven billion population all prayed at the same time then these deities would certainly have their work cut out. One could imagine the prayer-lines jammed with requests!
‘Welcome to God’s Prayer-Line. If you are a believer, press one. If you are an agnostic, press two. If you are an atheist, press three. I’m sorry, but
all our Prayer-Lines are busy right now. Your call is important to us so please hold the line. You are number 1,531,642,347 in a queuing system’ (followed by distorted harp music). Perhaps
that’s why so many feel their prayers don’t get answered!
Now that we have moved on from the notion of a personal God, you may well ask to whom or what do we pray, how do we pray and what is the point of prayer? First, as a gentle exercise in thought, try to grasp the realisation of a Universe that is programmed to respond to certain commands, rather like an enormous computer. Think of it in a similar fashion to our personal computers (PCs). If we don’t enter the right password or commands then we are denied access to the programme. In other words, only those who have the right authority are allowed access to the information or ‘game plan’. Why? Because it is Cosmic Law (rules). We have already discussed how Spiritual Law governs every aspect of our individual lives and prayer is no exception.
To Whom or What Do I Pray?
In reality, prayer is asking favours of a living Cosmic Principle of Love - God, The Absolute. That is because .........."
'Meditation is the withdrawal from the appearance of the outer
scene to the inner harvest. At one and the same time it is the
"Divine Awakening". Through its application comes inner
knowledge - and a direct knowing through Divine Direction.'
Muchael Gardner-Jones 1920 - 1990 (Healer, medium and spiritual teacher)
In the Western world meditation is a much misunderstood and malighned discipline, but it really is an essential subject for the student of life to understand and practise if answers to life are desired. First and formost, let me clarify that it is not in any way ........"